News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Indiana State University

July 24, 2013

FROM THE PRESS BOX: Change is coming to college sports ... is ISU ready?

TERRE HAUTE — Most of the major football conferences are holding their football media days this week. Usually the dominant sound coming out of media days is relentless coachspeak and endless platitudes about players who are finally going to make it X-team’s season.

This year? The war drums are beating.

Conference commissioners from the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 Conference have all used their forum with the media to express their dissatisfaction with NCAA governance and raise the trial balloon of a fourth division that would be the exclusive domain of the five power conferences.

Expect more when the Big Ten has its media days starting today. The Pac-12 Conference gets its turn starting Friday.

Side note: Take shelter as the chutzpah that will fall from the sky if Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany speaks on the topic will be such that it would’ve wiped out the dinosaurs in a bygone age. Delany, of course, filed a declaration in Ed O’Bannon’s trial against the NCAA that suggests the Big Ten would move down to a Division III model if made to share revenue.

The unification among the power conference commissioners is no coincidence. The commissioners of the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac-12 met six weeks ago to build consensus on NCAA change. They want it all.

They want rules — such as paying players — that suit their institutional needs. They want independence from comparatively financially strapped universities that have blocked what they believe is their right to run their business the way they see fit. They also want to get rid of the riff-raff — i.e. Mid-American Conference, Sun Belt Conference, etc. — that they feel dilutes the brand names of the schools that have a national following.

“There are programs that have $3-million budgets and programs that have $160-million budgets. How do you begin to try and do things that are good for one that are also good for the other?” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “I don’t know how you go about solving problems other than get like-minded people together and trying to come up with a solution.”

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