Get set for the Big Five

Listening to the state of the conference addresses from the commissioners of the “Big 5” football conferences-SEC, Big 10, Pac 12, Big 12 and ACC-it appears more and more likely that there is an impending split between the “haves” and “have nots” in NCAA Division I.

“I would say unanimity,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “I have some hesitation in saying that because I don’t want to put words in anybody else’s mouths. I believe my comments are consistent with those that Mike Slive (SEC) made last week, and when I think about John Swofford (ACC) and Larry Scott (Pac 12) and beyond that as well, I think we all have a sense that transformative change is going to have to happen.

“This is not a time when trimming around the edges is going to make very much difference.”

With the Bowl Championship Series set to give way to the new College Football Championships-a four-team playoff system-following the 2014 regular season, the leaders of largest D-I conferences in the country are looking for ways to insure that the schools they represent have the best chance of being selected to attend the multi-million dollar dance.

Even if that means splitting away from the other five conferences-as well as the independents-that make up the present format commonly referred to as Division I.

“Well, I think it depends on who you ask,” Bowlsby added.

“I think President Emmert recognizes that change needs to take place, and he’s hearing from-he’s hearing from different people. The Faculty Athletics Representatives Organization thinks they need to be more involved. The I-A athletic directors think they need to be more involved.

“I think there are presidents and CEOs that believe presidents and CEOs need to continue to be in charge. I agree with that, but I think they also need the advice and counsel of practitioners at the high level.

“Personally, I’d like to see some practitioners on the board of directors in voting positions. I think that that’s going to continue very significantly to the quality of the deliberations on these issues.”

Deliberations that may have not talked in-lenghth about secession, but have strongly hinted at the possibility.

“We haven’t want to put the threat of secession on the table, and I think, in all honesty, there aren’t many that think it’s a legitimate threat. I’m very sincere when I say I haven’t spoken with anyone in the business that seriously proposes we should go find another organization.

“So, I don’t see secession as a legitimate point of leverage except as a last resort. I really think that leadership and the rank and file believe that there’s a solution within the NCAA, and it’s been along those lines that we’ve had the conversations.

“Could that change to something that’s a little more harsh down the road? Possibly could, sure.”

Now, fault WVU’s move to the Big 12.

Contact Jim Butta at