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What’s Next in Conference Realignment?

This week could very well mark a turning point in college football.  Is the Pac-10 becoming the Pac-16?  Will the Big-12 still exist?  And the newest and most interesting question…will USC be banned from postseason play for the next two years?

For weeks we’ve been hearing about the possibility of expansion in the Pac-10, Big 10 and SEC.  Now it appears that at least some of the rumors are manifesting into reality.  Colorado has already been invited to join the Pac-10, and sources say invitations will be extended to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.  Sources are also reporting that Nebraska will be moving to the Big Ten.  That leaves Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State behind in the former Big-12.  All indications seem to be that if that were the case, the Big-12 would dissolve.  So who will step in to scoop up what remains?

There have been rumors for weeks now that the SEC was considering extending invitations to four new teams.  Those rumored to be possibilities were Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Texas, Texas A&M and Clemson.  If the SEC did extend four invitations and several of those went to ACC teams, what would become of the ACC?  The rumors on the expanded SEC have died down, but the possibility is still interesting.

Does anyone else wonder if all this realignment is in response to the heightened scrutiny on the BCS?  If nothing else, it would at least provide the perfect timing for a redesign of postseason play.

Speaking of postseason play, the most interesting news with regards to college football is coming out this morning.  It seems college football powerhouse USC might be absent from postseason play for the next two years.  Sanctions are expected from the NCAA today, and sources say the punishment will include a reduction in scholarships, a forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season, and being banned from postseason play for the next two years!  The sanctions are in response to violations by both the men’s football and basketball programs.  USC will have a chance to appeal the decision.

The NCAA is clearly looking to make an example of USC, a perennial contender in the BCS.  No BCS team has been banned from postseason play in the past seven years.  The combined effect of the conference realignment, the possible dissolution of the Big-12, and the absence of USC from postseason eligibility for the next two years, sets the stage for a complete BCS overhaul.  The biggest question remaining for most fans, however, is if the BCS will take this golden opportunity to revisit its system and make some important changes.

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients. Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters.

About Kristi Dosh

Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more
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