In an interview with ESPN on Tuesday, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith proposed that the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences – which includes all Power Five and Group of Five conferences, as well as independents – could operate within the framework of the College Football Playoff, with separate rules and structures from the NCAA.
According to Smith – who said he was “just throwing ideas out” during the Big Ten’s spring meetings – the NCAA would continue to host championships for basketball and Olympic sports.
“We (can) create our own rules, create our own governance structure, have our own enforcement, we have our own requirements, whatever that might be,” Smith said. “That might be in the medical space, for example, if a student-athlete is injured and hurt in his or her senior year. You take care of them when they’re done until they’re healed. And we have the funding in place to do that.
“You don’t touch anything else with the NCAA. You keep the academic requirements in place. The reality is, those schools who offer 85 scholarships in football have made a different commitment and that needs to be addressed.”
The NCAA is undergoing a period of rapid change, including Name, Image and Likeness and the transfer portal, all while longtime president Mark Emmert is set to step down by the end of 2023.
Smith also chimed in on playoff expansion, and said that while the FCS championship should remain unchanged – currently a 16-team playoff, compared to the often publicized 12-team model for the College Football Playoff – the FBS could soon follow the same model.
“The CFP model needs to be looked at differently,” Smith said. “As we consider expansion, we ought to consider the structure. The reality is we need to begin to control our own space. We’ve got to make sure we’re careful with antitrust, but at the end of the day, we need different rules.”