Can North Carolina Finish the Job? Or Will the Big Ten Break Through?
In the late winter of 2011, North Carolina and Michigan State locked in a 10-year, $150 million deal after the school’s Board of Governors agreed to the NCAA’s rules enforcement reforms and shared the cost of moving to a 12-team playoff system that will include a one-game series to decide the national title. The deal was made through a 10-year, $210 million joint-extension between the two schools.
The deal was a coup for both schools. The 10-year extension was unprecedented for Division I sports, leaving the NCAA and the conferences to decide if the deal would be permanent. For the second consecutive year, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham and his staff, were out front of the negotiations.
The Big Ten Network, ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Pac-12 Networks all agreed to support the deal. But as the process wound its way through the approval process at the NCAA, the Big Ten decided to offer a one-game playoff as an alternative that would allow for the conference to break out of the NCAA’s rules enforcement and championship system. The Big Ten is expected to make the move at its convention this week in Nashville. This is still a very early stage for the Big Ten, but is expected to be a major shift for college football’s playoff system.
Can the Big Ten really break through in its new system? Or will the conference return to its old plan of one conference a year, regardless of the results, the way the Pac-12 did?
Here’s how the NCAA, the conferences, and the athletic directors are dealing with the Big Ten’s proposals:
The NBA and college basketball have had one conference per year for decades. The Big Ten joins the SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, ACC, and the Big East as the only Division I conferences that have shared the conference championships. The Big Ten is the only one of the major conferences to have taken such a step, and it has been an important step.
Why the Big Ten’s plan?
The conference has long held the position that the system was the best for the sport, but wanted to see the NCAA change in its long time of opposition. And the Big Ten believes it could do it the right way, by expanding the playoff to