Time For An NCAA “Super Division”

Posted: May 17, 2012 in NCAA
Tags: , ,

Now that we’re on the verge of having some kind mini-playoff in college football, it’s time for the sport’s powers-that-be to get their heads out of their backsides and drop-kick political correctness to the curb.

Everyone involved in the decision-making process – school presidents being at the top of the list – knows how stupid and unfair the major college football landscape is. The top division in major college football consists of 120 schools. It is a joke to think they compete on a level playing field. The financial disparity is ridiculous. Imagine Wal-Mart and Bubba’s Retail store being talked about as equals.

According to recent research, the top half of major college football schools generate $81.5 million in revenue annually; the bottom half $28. The upper half averages spending $76 million, the bottom half $28 million.

There has been talk of a super division for decades. Now that college presidents have agreed to some kind of playoff, it’s time to take a full step and separate the “haves” from the “have-nots” and have a real playoff.

Divide the super division teams into four or eight football-only conferences using good old geography. (All other sports would remain in their current conferences and continue doing business as usual.) The super conference champions would then compete for the national championship. There would be no polls and selection committees involved. There’d be no at-large invitations. Teams would get an opportunity to play for the national title the old-fashioned way: They’d earn it. By the way, super division teams would only play other super division teams in non-conference games. The days of Florida playing Florida Atlantic would be over. Hallelujah!

This certainly isn’t a new idea. The disparity has been talked about behind closed doors for years. Now it is being discussed openly, and that’s a major step.

USA Today quoted Texas President William Powers this week on the subject. Powers, naturally, hedged calling for a super division, but he did say such things as “We may get to the point . . . where many schools are really not in a position to compete” against the elite teams. Really? He added that while he wasn’t for a “national League” that the day might be coming when “we may end up with 50 schools” in some kind of super division.

The time for talking about it is past. Now it is time to do it. Certainly some schools – think Vanderbilt of the SEC, Duke of the ACC, Northwestern of the Big Ten, etc. – will squawk. I feel their pain, but if they can’t compete year-in and year-out, they need to step aside.

Right or wrong, big-time college football has evolved into a major sports entertainment business. Now it needs to act like one.


  1. Wyman says:

    Don’t forget to add in, make it professional so players get paid, have insurance, and forget education while playing, unless the player chooses to do so. Let the right to an education by the university be guaranteed to the player for 10 years after he would have officially graduated, as pretended today. Most players, until they have exhausted all professional possibilities are not interested in an education, while even if they are, they’re constrained by their football obligations. It’s well-known most of these kids would not make the educational cut for college due to poor academics, so why pretend. Big time college football is already professional football, so make it official. Bring all the donor and alumni money above the table, by allowing them to sponsor or donate into a salary fund for certain key players and key recruits. That way, a Reggie Bush situation could be properly and legally monetized, taxes paid, and rules devised to punish cheating and cheaters on a meaningful scale at your new Super Division level.

    I dare say, this would lead to a second tier of football factories doing business as Double A style teams of paid players, on down to levels where student and college would recognize scholarships for education only schools. Major universities are lending their name for profit these days anyway, so why not make it official? Too many kids in football, basketball, and probably other sports as well, are already being paid or taken care of while still in high school, because they are hot prospects.

    As a sports fan, I am a little tired of being asked to ignore this. Its like being asked to ignore steroids in baseball, since it leads to more homeruns, while being told by some, that Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, all the way back to Babe Ruth, did steroids, probably. Just wasn’t reported then or understood. Sports needs to find integrity again. I am even running out of reasons to read David Lamm or listen to 1010XL SportsTalk. We have devolved into an anything goes mentality, as long as you win. I remember when sports at least tried to teach there were rules one must live by and integrity is important. Now, all is okay, as long as you don’t get caught, then if you do get caught, be sure to mention that its okay, because everybody does it. A Super Conference could work, if done right or it could be one more step down the road to total corruption. For sure, Money Talks.

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