The Death of Cinderella?


Bryan Flynn

The NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give the Power Five conferences plus the University of Notre Dame the ability to start making their own rules in regard to offering more than just scholarships to athletes.

This means teams from the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC with Notre Dame can give athletes full cost of admission insurance, health care after their playing days end, and more.

This change will make the divide between the Power Five and other Division I football schools, like Southern Miss, even wider. Compounded with the new playoff system, the rule change will basically shut out every team but the ones in the major conferences.

The power conferences are also talking about moving to a nine-game conference schedule and only playing other schools from power conferences. If that happens, the smaller conferences will see less chance, or more likely none, to add games against the power schools for money. That will just put them in a deeper hole.

Right now, there are four NCAA football levels: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Division, Division II and Division III. Unless one of the smaller conferences or a few schools from those conferences can get an invite from the big boys, there are few options for the other 63 schools.

If the smaller conferences get totally squeezed out by the major ones, I see two realistic choices and playing football in the spring isn’t one of them.

First, they can make own division by adding some top FCS schools and playing for their own national championship. This, to me, makes the most sense and could be more financially beneficial in the long term. The second choice is to drop to the FCS level. This would take some work because the FCS level already has a good size playoff and adding 63 more teams would be taxing to it.

Most schools already lose money on bowl games and even if the current FBS Playoff expands to eight teams, it wouldn’t do much for the smaller conferences. That is why I think a new division works best.


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