Blog Entry

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:52 pm

There is growing support toward eliminating automatic qualifier status in the next evolution of college football’s postseason according to Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

The concept has been discussed informally among the game’s power brokers and would represent a fundamental shift in the way the sport’s postseason is administrated. Neinas supports the change because he said eliminating the so-called “AQ” status would slow or stop conference realignment.

“I think there is growing sentiment to eliminate the automatic qualification part of the BCS,” Neinas told this week. “You can see what’s happening. They [conferences] are gerrymandering all over the place under the intent to maintain an automatic qualification. History has shown you don’t need that if you are qualified.”

Removing AQ status would, in part, continue to benefit the power conferences who are currently bound by a two-team limit in the BCS. But it would also allow so-called non-AQs a more consistent, fair entry into the BCS. No changes would take effect until the 2014 season.

There are currently 10 slots among the five BCS bowls. One discussed configuration would allow the top 10 teams in the final BCS standings at the end of the season to play in BCS bowls no matter what conference affiliation. For example, if the Big Ten or SEC had three or more teams in the top 10, all those schools would get BCS bowls.

It’s not clear what the Rose Bowl’s stance is on the issue. It is known the Rose wants to keep its Pac-12-Big Ten game as often as possible. Eliminating AQ status may be the interim step between the BCS and a playoff. Various officials from four of the six BCS leagues have been in favor of at least a plus-one model at one time or another in the last three years.

The changes supported by Neinas wouldn’t occur until after the 2014 bowls when the current BCS deal expires with ESPN. Commissioners and ADs will discuss the changes as part of their next BCS meeting Monday in San Francisco.

“I imagine it will be one of many things they will be talking about," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "It’s really premature to speculate about what the group might do."

The game’s administrators will have to have a new model going forward when ESPN reaches its exclusive negotiating window in October.

It’s not clear how much support there among commissioners. It would seem that at least the ACC and Big East would be against change. The ACC champion has finished out of the top 10 three of the last four seasons. Both leagues failed to have a team in the top 10 team at the end of last season.

It’s also not clear how money would be divided. Currently, 85 percent of the BCS bowl take is divided among the six power conferences. Last year approximately $200 million was made off the BCS bowls. If one of the six major conferences is not guaranteed a BCS bowl that could change the distribution model and potentially be a deal breaker.

Those six power conference champions – SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten – are guaranteed a BCS bowl. The champions of the five non-AQ leagues – MAC, WAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, Mountain West – are not. The best schools in those leagues must meet a set of benchmarks to get in.

Using the final 2010 standings as example going forward, the Big East (UConn, out of the BCS top 25) and ACC (Virginia Tech, No. 13) would not have had a BCS team because those conferences champions finished out of the top 10. The Big Ten would have had three teams – Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State.

In that configuration schools like Missouri (2007), Texas Tech (2008), Boise State (2008, 2010), Iowa (2009), Georgia Tech (2009) and Michigan State (2010) would have made BCS bowls simply by finishing in the top 10.

To date the Big Ten has played in the most BCS bowls, 23. The SEC is second with 21.

Neinas said he senses support for the change among his peers. The scramble for automatic qualification has affected three of the six BCS leagues just in the last couple of months. TCU and West Virginia joined the Big 12, in part fearing instability in the Big East. Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Big East is trying to reconstitute itself to be a BCS league going forward.

Commissioners will have to decide if the Big East even merits AQ status if the system remains the same. It currently has that status because of a waiver granted by BCS commissioners in 2008.

“You can make it on your merit without having to be in an automatic qualifying situation,” Neinas said. “That would solve some problems here with people just scrambling because they think they have to take in certain institutions. Let’s eliminate automatic qualification. If you merit it, you’re in …

“The point is, then you wouldn’t have this effort to cobble together a conference for the purpose of automatic qualification.”

Neinas also said he senses “strong sentiment” for conferences to remain with current membership until 2013. That would mean Syracuse and Pittsburgh would remain in the ACC, Missouri and Texas A&M would remain in the Big 12 and West Virginia and TCU would remain in the Big East.

The Big 12 is in a state flux with its television partners (ESPN, Fox) because it needs at least 10 members in 2012 for its payout not to be affected, Neinas said.

“We have to provide inventory to our TV partners and also we have some bowl partners,” he said. “Of course the major problem is scheduling.”

West Virginia has been sued by the Big East to fulfill its obligation to give 27 months notice before leaving the league. Big 12 sources are upset that Missouri intends to leave by July 1, 2012. Neinas remarked that it was “awful short notice” by the school.

Both Texas A&M and Missouri are still haggling with the Big 12 over exit fees owed to the conference. Those fees could range from $15 million-$30 million per school according to reports.

If both Missouri and West Virginia aren’t in the league in 2012, that would leave only nine members. With only nine members, each Big 12 team would have to find another non-conference game on short notice for 2012.

Asked if he expected Missouri to be in the league next year, Neinas said, “That would be nice, sure. Is that possible? I don’t know.”

He was then asked if there is any sentiment within the league for legal action against Missouri, Neinas said, “I don’t’ think I’ll comment on that.”


Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:40 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

The Big East is not the same conference it was when the contract was signed and why is that?  Obviously the league did not do enough to protect itself

Judge: "WVU, weren't you one of the strongest teams in the Big East?  Wouldn't the Big East have been more stable if you had stayed?  Isn't your departure part of the cause for the conference's instability?"

WVU: "Yes, Your Honor, but..."

Judge: "Get outta here"

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:37 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Don't try to justify WVU's lawsuit on the merits because it is anything but meritorious.  You even admit that the best thing it has going for it is the fact that the claim was filed in a "local WV court."  I presume that means you believe WVU will win simply because of "home cooking."  Most contracts state which state will have jurisdiction and, if that is the case, don't count on WV being the agreed Court of Jurisdiction.  If you want to admit that the lawsuit was filed to give WVU better bargaining position so they don't have to stick around for the full 27 months, I can accept that.  I think the fair thing is for any team leaving to stay long enough to make sure that 1) no harm is caused to the BE by virtue of falling below a minimum number of teams required for TV contracts, AQ status, etc. and 2) the teams that remain have an opportunity to revamp their schedule.  After that, its not fair to make WVU, Syracuse and Pitt stick around just to penalize them; that's what the $5M is for. 

As for WVU's claim on the merits, the truth is that every remaining member of the BE ran scared when Syracuse and Pitt bolted to the ACC.  As for your comment that "the BE is not the same conference it was when the contract was signed", Miami and VT have been replaced by Cincy and Louisville as the best teams in the conference.  What's your point?!?!?!?

Since: Oct 28, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:37 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Its more than that too.  First , specific performance, i.e., forcing a party to hold to the terms of a contract, is nto a remedy for breach of contract outside of real estate.  Thus, no judge will ever issue an injunction saying WVU has to stay in the Big East next year.  Instead, the remedy for breach fo contract is monetary damages - which WVU hasd already said they are willing to pay and want to begin negoations on the amount.

Second, the BE has sued West Virginia (an arm of the state of West Virginia) in a Rhode island court.  So, 1) if the BE got a Rhode island judge to issue an injunction saying WVU had to stay in the BE, it would not be enforcable anywhere outside the state of Rhode Island.  In other words, WVU can ignore it.  Further, if a Rhode island court awarded damages to the BE, they would be appealed to a federal court which would rule (based on long precedence) that the State of Rhode Island cannot award damages against another state, i.e., again unenforcable.

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:26 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Stop trying to tweak a broken and terrible system.  The BCS doesn't work, it never has, and it never will.  A playoff is the ony way.

The Facts
Since: Dec 27, 2008
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:25 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:21 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

The BE is currently holding WVU to its 27 month commitment.  It sure seems like the BE is in a strong position to win that litigation.


Certainly the Big East is attempting to hold WVU to the 27 months, and on the surface the BE seems to have a strong position, but WVU caught Marinatto and company with their pants down (what a big surprise) by filing as quickly as they did and in a local WV court also, score 1 for WVU.  All the BE has is the contract with WVU, WVU's strategy is to bring the contract into question, and they have a very strong case.  The Big East is not the same conference it was when the contract was signed and why is that?  Obviously the league did not do enough to protect itself after being poached by the ACC the first time.  In other words, as WVU's lawsuit states there has been a failure of fiduciary responsibility.  On that point I'd say WVU has the advantage.  Accepting WVU's initial payment was a mistake by the BE also.  They could have, and should have told WVU that the money was not due until their official withdrawal.  They didn't and it could come back to bite them.  Once again WVU is ahead of the curve on that one.  Even if WVU doesn't win its lawsuit they will leave, and the Big East will sue.  Eventually both parties will agree on a sum for monetary damages and that will be it.  One way or another WVU WILL play in the Big 12 next year.  Count on it.

The BE invites for other teams have no bearing on the obligations of Syracuse, Pitt, and WVU.

It does have a bearing.  As soon as the Big East adds new teams WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse will argue that the reason for the 27 month waiting period, namely so that the league can replace the departing schools, is invalid.  John Belien used this point to reduce the buyout in his contract when he left WVU for Michigan.  When WVU announced the hiring of Bob Huggins (before Belien had actually left) Belien argued that the damages being suffered by WVU due to his early departure were negligible as they were quickly able to hire a top notch coach in Huggins.  I don't remember the numbers but WVU agreed to reduce Belien's buyout.

Since: Mar 25, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:42 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

dollarbill, so what teams get byes in your 12 team playoff??  personally i dont believe a tourney should go above 8, it is an even number and no team gets the advantage of a bye week, other than that i agree that a tourney of some sort would help settle alot of the complaints from college fans, hell make a 4 team playoff, would be better than what we have

Since: Mar 25, 2009
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:38 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

I know if Alamaba would have won the SEC they would not belong in the BCS because their non conferrence schedule is crap.

kinda odd for you to call (alabama's) OOC schedule crap when the team you support in your avatar was one of those teams they beat OOC, not to mention the nittney lions only have 1 loss (against bama) which has helped make bama's schedule even stronger, im not a bama fan by any means, but any team that wins the SEC west, then potentially goes on to win the SEC title game, would be GUARENTEED a BCS bowl birth, regardless of AQ status because that team would just about be assured to be in the top 10 with a max of 1-2 losses, thats what it takes to win this division, i cant say the same for the SEC east since the team that wins that division is liable to have 2-3 losses, but when you play in a division that has 3 teams currently in the top 10, one of which you beat quite easily (arkansas), the other one you barely lost to in overtime (LSU), i can assure you they would be there with only 1 loss that came in overtime, whether your biased BIG 10 opinion believes they should be or not, heres a good example, the team that got snubbed from the BCS last year IMO, and many others would argue was a 1 loss michigan state team, who got slaughtered by guess who, alabama, in the capitol one bowl, so the fact is, take away bamas loss in baton rouge last year, and they would probably be looking at their 4th straight BCS bowl this year, and would have earned each, and every one of them

Since: Mar 19, 2010
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:35 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

Sounds like alot of potential deal breakers to me. And take account that Neinas is not & has not been in the loop for several years, also may not have the savvy it sounds as he has. Face it, he's not a spring chicken anymore. I've stated before that BG12 has to have at least 10 teams for their Fox contract for 1.3 bill over 13 yrs, & they will have at least 10 for that contract next year, one way or another. TCU, TAM, misswho, someone will be there to honor the deal or be held accountable for the $$$. That computes to about 8 mill pr yr pr team & no one will forgo their share without pitchin a fit. If BCS was redone, it would likely stop some of this realignment garbage, but still is tons of animosity in BG12 regardless of public statements. That may not change with just a kiss & makeup. The biggest turd in the punchbowl right now is missery because of the extra short timeframe involved in their wish to leave. It took too long for them to find the right desk to crawl under in the SEC. LOL! Alas, Neinas may just be one of those guys that wants to say something, instead of something to say. I wouldn't make too much of some of it, as there is nothing on the BG12 website about this, so go figure? Maybe this is somewhat speculative reporting, ya think?

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:29 pm

B12 commish senses big change in BCS

In every other college game there is a post season tournament that determines its nattional champion.  That is except for College Football.   The whole bowl system is a joke if your college team wins 6 games they qualify for a bowl so a 6 and 6 teams qualifies for a bowl so what.  I did not know that we are in the business of rewarding mid level play in no other college sport do you see something like this.  There should be a 12 team playoff with the best 12 teams in two brackets with the winner of each bracket meeting for the National Championship.  And for the other bowl games who cares about them does any body really care about the Minikie Care bowl or the Capital One bowl.  I bet if asked no remembers who played in those games or even the winner was.  On the other hand ask someone who was the last five national champions were and the they tell you.  This iis almost like asking whoes the runner up they are forgotten while the winner is remembered forever.

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