Will The Power Five Conferences Secede From The NCAA?
Is the final separation of college football powers coming?
Conference realignment caused another big shift a few years ago, but it might not be over yet. Some believe that the power five football conferences could exit the NCAA.
Can you blame them? The NCAA leadership includes some of the most esteemed morons in these United States. Their rules are, in certain cases, backwards and nonsensical. Finally, the “have” teams might not want to be associated with the “have-nots” anymore.
These conferences already have a particular amount of autonomy. Leagues like the ACC and SEC can set their own course on benefits, cost of attendance, recruiting rules, and more. At the time, it was thought that this prevented a total separation of the Power Five from the Group of Five.
It still might be coming.
Power Five Secession: What Are The Odds?
A Google search of “power five conferences break off from NCAA” yields about 3.6 million results. Some of those listings explain why the big conferences will go away, and some why they won’t. It has been discussed for years, and both average fans and respected sports voices like Mark Packer think it’s distinctly possible.
The short answer is that it will happen someday. That “someday” may not be for years, but it will happen. For one thing, those conferences are already treated differently than the rest of them. As the money increases, they are not going to want to answer to the NCAA or have other less desirable schools dragging them down. They will want to have even more flexibility to negotiate their own deals and make their own rules. Simply put, they will want more of an ability to run it like a business, free of the NCAA’s silliness.
It’s also likely that some of the Power Five schools will be cast off, kind of the “Left Behind” books. As for the ones assumed into college football heaven, the shackles would be lifted.
But Will It Be Good For The Sport?
There is something to be said for a college football Saturday where you see a variety of games. It’s not just the Alabama-LSU game late in the day, but about the high-scoring MAC games and the Sun Belt shockers over heavyweight teams. That may or may not go away, but you’re not going to see much of it. The few dozen top teams will dominate media coverage as they do now, put perhaps in more pronounced fashion.
Some have said in the past that there’s a “purity” to college sports. Not anymore, and there hasn’t been for a while. It’s a bigger money industry than it was even ten years ago. Ten years from now, the cash cow will only get fatter. For better or for worse, it’s become a business. If and when this separation happens, it will be acknowledged as such.
Should it happen, one wonders what will happen to the notion of the “student-athlete.” It may come to a point where these schools see the players as employees and treat them as such. That wouldn’t be so great for education, but the jury is out on that as a business move.