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Lot of College Football Changes Comin'; NCAA Best be Payin' Them Some Mind

On Tuesday, Year2 wrote this:

So by any sensible measure, ULM doesn't belong on the top level of football. Not only has it been nowhere close to contending on a national level, it have seldom been competitive in the nation's worst conference (the Sun Belt). It's probably time to make a change.

The change the school wants to make is adding a $10 per credit hour (up to 12 hours) student fee to boost the athletics budget. The 6,000 or so students at the school will vote on the fee this week, but Christensen points out that it doesn't seem to be terribly popular in some corners of the ULM fan base.

If the students vote the fee down, you have to wonder what future ULM has in I-A football. It's not very competitive now, and it's not going to be with the budget it has. I don't highlight this to pick on the school, because it's far from alone. For example New Mexico State hasn't made a bowl since 1960, UAB has made one bowl since coming to I-A in 1996, and Akron has made one bowl since coming to I-A in 1987.

The pretense that these programs are on the same level as everyone else in I-A is fooling no one, and the financial losses they incur despite playing several paycheck games a year don't help the institutions. I-A simply needs to get smaller.

Year2’s point is bolstered by the facts that even successful Nevada’s Division I-A status is in doubt and the downtrodden Sun Belt may be positioning itself to poach programs from the imperiled WAC.

On Thursday, Senator Blutarksy wrote this:

What would you expect to happen in a world where the cost of scheduling home football games with mid-major schools has steadily spiraled upwards and the NCAA enacted a rule change which allowed FBS (formerly Division I) teams to count a victory over a FCS (formerly Division IAA) team toward bowl eligibility every year, not just once every four years?

If you answered that the big schools would start shopping at different bakeries, you’d be right.

Conference expansion remains in the air, even after last summer’s whirlwind. Major conference teams are scheduling Division I-AA opponents because they’re cheaper. Major conferences are raking in the dough the marketplace provides, while whiners are going after the BCS for ill-defined reasons. Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re headed for another shift akin to the Division I-A/Division I-AA split of the 1970s? Either Division I-A’s bottom-dwellers are going to start dropping back down to Division I-AA, or the top teams in Division I-A are going to branch out (or break off) and form an elite upper tier within the watered-down nominal upper tier.

The haves are getting pushed by the have nots, and the best of the have nots are bolting for greener pastures: Boise State, BYU, TCU, and Utah all have moved up in weight class in the last year, just as Louisville and South Florida did before them, and Florida State and Miami did before them, and Arizona and Arizona State did before them. If you like, we can trace this line of toppling dominoes back at least as far as Alabama’s Rose Bowl win over Washington putting Southern college football on the map at a time when Eastern sportswriters looked down upon the region and dismissed the Crimson Tide as the "Tusca-losers."

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany often says similarly insulting and insupportable things about the SEC, so, when Delany is saying things that make SEC fans nod in agreement, that is worthy of note. I suspect that, before too many more years have passed, the NCAA will be facing the rollback of, or secession from, the Division I-A ranks. O brave new world, that has such programs in it!

Go ‘Dawgs!