Tag: realignment

Eddie Jordan, Robert Barchi

American Athletic Conference, Rutgers announce settlement

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When Rutgers made the decision in 2012 to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten, two questions that needed answering were when the school would make the move and how much it would cost them. Some programs involved in conference realignment have simply waited after making their decision, choosing to negotiate their exit fee, but a few others have gone with the lawsuit method.

Rutgers did just that in December 2012, suing the Big East over its exit fee and the 27-month waiting period required of members in the Big East’s bylaws.

On Wednesday the American Athletic Conference announced that it has come to an agreement with Rutgers in regards to the terms of the separation, with the school having to pay an $11.5 million exit fee. With the conference having already received $5 million, Rutgers will pay the remaining $6.5 million over a four-year period with the first payment to be made on September 1, 2014.

The American originally sought to receive a $15 million exit fee from Rutgers, so the school does save $3.5 million with this agreement. And given how much Rutgers expects to make in the Big Ten, they’ll make up for that loss (and then some) down the line.

“This settlement will allow us to continue along the path to self-sufficiency for our athletic programs,’’ [Rutgers president Robert] Barchi said. “One-time restructuring costs like this settlement and the costs associated with canceling a previous marketing contract are more than offset by anticipated revenues from the Big Ten and from our new marketing partner IMG College. The increased ongoing revenue resulting from these one-time investments will provide the financial support necessary for the athletic department to move toward financial stability.’’

Rutgers was going to be a member of the Big Ten on July 1, 2014. The only question was just how much it would cost the school, and Wednesday’s announcement provided the answer. For the Big Ten there’s just one question left: how much will Maryland have to pay the ACC?

The ACC wants the $52.2 million exit fee that its members agreed to in 2012, with Maryland and Florida State being the lone schools to object to the increase. Obviously Maryland doesn’t want to pay that much, leading to dueling lawsuits in Maryland (filed by the school) and North Carolina (filed by the ACC).

Could the NCAA’s Division I setup be in line for a change?

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The current structure of the NCAA is an interesting one, with their being three divisions (I, II and III) with separate championship systems. Obviously at the Division I level schools can give out more scholarships than Division II schools, and Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships.

But within Division I there’s quite the division between the “haves” and the “have-nots” with college football being the big reason why.

The revenue brought in by that sport had a major impact on conference realignment, and when the dust settled there were essentially five “major” conferences, with those leagues (the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) receiving that designation due to the fact that many of the sport’s most powerful programs reside in one of those five conferences.

That separation has also led to increased questioning of the current setup of the NCAA, and how that impacts the way in which schools are governed.

While the five conferences that reel in the most money would like to do things such as meeting the full cost of attendance for its scholarship athletes, getting that legislation through has been difficult due to smaller schools being concerned about their ability to afford such an expense. That led to the occasional idea that the five most powerful conferences could consider splitting off from the other Division I leagues, with the question being whether that would occur under the NCAA umbrella or if they would take their money and leave.

At the NCAA meetings in San Diego that was one of the topics discussed, and according to Yahoo! Sports we could be approaching the day when those five league are allowed to govern themselves while remaining part of the NCAA structure.

“It makes sense for the five big revenue conferences to have their own voice,” [NCAA President Mark] Emmert told Yahoo Sports Friday. “A year ago that would have been a very difficult conversation. Now [member schools] are saying, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ … People have just become more comfortable with the ideas and concepts of it.’ “

The process still will take time. Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, the chair of the Division I Board of Directors, said there will be more focused discussion on the NCAA’s new governing structure in April, and individual conferences will then have a chance to discuss those findings at their spring meetings. Then the proposals can be put to a formal vote.

“We hope to have it wrapped up and approved by summer,” Hatch said.

According to the story 58% of the administrators in attendance were in favor of the five most powerful conferences having the ability to govern themselves, hence the thinking that this could be the way collegiate athletics is headed. But would this prohibit other leagues, like the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West for example, from taking up the same initiative(s) to better compensate student-athletes?

That’s just one of the questions administrators will need to address between now and the summer, with how much of a voice athletic directors should have in the governing of collegiate athletics moving forward being another. But just as the case was with conference realignment “the times they are a-changin’,” and athletic departments will have little choice but to adapt.

Proposal for a new NCAA “Division IV” doesn’t mention hoops

Harvard v Arizona
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The notion that big-time football should forge its own path has been in the wind for a while now. It makes us college hoops fans feel pretty squeamish, even if we happen to root for a big-time program, because we like our Big Dance and our Cinderellas, and that would change for good if the FBS schools break away.

I, for one, just stick my fingers in my ears and sing “I can’t heeeeeear youuuuu!” when someone brings it up, even in a theoretical context.

A group known as the Division 1-A Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) has taken the next step, however. The group, as presented in a letter to the NCAA on September 11 of this year, has drafted a proposal for a so-called “Division IV” that would be composed solely of the universities currently playing FBS football.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports gave us the lowdown on the proposal:

The FAR board supports a new division, “more closely aligned in resources dedicated to athletics programs and in types of issues faced,” according to FAR president Brian Shannon, a Texas Tech law professor.

“There is wide consensus that the current Division I governance model is not working,” said Jo Potuto, Nebraska constitutional law professor and past president of the I-A FAR. “A separate FBS division offers more streamlined governance among schools with comparable revenue streams.”

There was no mention at all in the FAR proposal about the effect this new division might have on college basketball, but it doesn’t sound good. The current NCAA tournament model would have to be pretty much scrapped, which shouldn’t sound particularly appealing to the governing body, The NCAA tourney is a huge money-maker, even if basketball’s overall money-making potential pales in comparison to the juggernaut that is big-time college football.

It’s worth noting that FAR has no official power to recommend anything at all to anybody, but they did take the initial step of doing the legwork on a governance model for a separate branch of the NCAA power structure. Chances are, this is just the first shot fired over the bow in this particular battle,