The Division I Bowl Task Force that the NCAA put together last April in response to the scandal at the Fiesta Bowl that took down former executive director John Junker has made it recommendations. If they are accepted, they will definitely change the bowl landscape.
The biggest change, although less obvious to the casual fan, is how bowl games will be certified. The task force recommended doing away with the NCAA Bowl Licensing Committee, which has been certifying games since 2004 based on things like minimum attendance and financial guarantees. The task force is instead recommending that things like that be left to the conference and the bowls to negotiate among themselves.
Instead, the NCAA will set criteria based on governance, community support and marketing. Each bowl would be responsible for filing reports with the NCAA certifying that they are in compliance with those standards, and the NCAA staff will make periodic audits of the bowls to ensure compliance as well. The governance standards are to ensure things like the campaign contribution scandal at the Fiesta Bowl don’t happen again.
Other changes that will be much more obvious include a recommendation that the bowl schedule match better with the academic calendar. The task force recommended that all bowl games be played in a three-week window, the exact dates of which would vary from year to year, but the idea is that games would not start until after final exams and would end before the start of classes (at most schools).
That tight of a window would most impact the BCS title game, and the bowl that hosts it. Right now, those games are scheduled about a week apart to give the host bowl time to properly accommodate both games. The new calendar could push the title game back much closer to Jan. 1st, which would force the host bowl to move its original game earlier as well, or try to squeeze two games in on a much tighter schedule.
This year’s bowls start on Saturday, Dec. 17th and end on Monday, Jan. 9th, a period of 23 days.
The other change that could have a major impact on the bowls is one that was actually adopted in August by the D-I Board of Directors, which says that teams must have an APR of 930 or better to participate in the postseason. That could increase the odds of there not being enough eligible teams to fill the games. There is no procedure in place for what to do if something like that happens, and the task force did not recommend one.