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First Proposal for New NCAA Division Appears

It would make I-A no longer a subdivision of Division I but rather its own entire division.


The Division I-A Faculty and Athletics Representatives have made an initial proposal to take I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) and turn it into a separate division within the NCAA, reports Dennis Dodd. This is not a proposal to break away from the NCAA, but rather turn a subdivision into a proper division.

Update: Turns out this info is a bit older than today. Still interesting nonetheless.

Informally referred to as Division 4 by folks since the first rumblings of this new divisional structure appeared over the summer, the proposed division would allow for the big money schools to do things their own way:

The FAR board supports a new division, "more closely aligned in resources dedicated to athletics programs and in types of issues faced," according to FAR president Brian Shannon, a Texas Tech law professor.

"There is wide consensus that the current Division I governance model is not working," said Jo Potuto, Nebraska constitutional law professor and past president of the I-A FAR. "A separate FBS division offers more streamlined governance among schools with comparable revenue streams."

The proposal resembles a so-called 'federated' structure, an idea that is making the rounds among some administrators. Either divisions or sports -- or both -- would be aligned more among common interests. For example, one idea is to have major-college football run by a board of directors with an overall chairman or commissioner.

Long time readers are probably tired of me saying things like "it makes no sense for Maryland and Maryland-Baltimore County to be in the same division", but those schools are indeed in the same division. The subdivisions I-A and I-AA are for football only; the whole of Division I has 351 schools as of this year. Governing that many schools at once is hard enough, to say nothing of how big the divide in issues and interests is between Tennessee and Tennessee Tech.

The most telling part is this:

"FBS must be a master of its own fate," the proposal states, "particularly with regard to matters of enhancement of the student-athlete experience that depend on increased revenue allocation."

That line almost certainly is a reference to the oft-proposed stipend for athletes above and beyond the scholarships they get now. The smaller schools have never been on board with it, and, given their superior numbers, they could always block it from happening. A new division for the big programs would allow them to go forward with that while paying no heed to programs with $7 million budgets for the entire athletic program.

This proposal is just a proposal, so nothing is moving forward just yet. However, It's a big first step towards a new division for the big money schools, and it's one that's been a long time coming.