By BRENT KALLESTAD
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — NCAA President Mark Emmert reiterated his support Monday for a two-round, four-team BCS championship playoff and his concern about the discord conference expansion creates.
Emmert said Monday there are ongoing discussions about what he described as a Final Four model, a scenario which would’ve matched LSU against Stanford and Alabama versus Oklahoma State this season with the winners advancing to the title game. Alabama defeated LSU 21-0 to avenge its lone loss and win the championship.
“I wish it had been a better game,” said Emmert, who spoke at a Tallahassee civic organization’s luncheon. He was the chancellor at LSU when Nick Saban was hired as the Tigers’ coach.
Not everyone supported the rematch between the two Southeastern Conference schools.
“If I had to guess we’ll see some movement in the format,” Emmert said of how the BCS championship is decided. “Where it’s going to wind up, I don’t know.”
Emmert noted that the decision is out of his 1,100-member organization’s hands although all BCS members are also members of the NCAA — the governing body of the three lower-division football championships and 86 other men and women’s sports.
The 59-year-old NCAA chief is opposed to a broader playoff in football which he believes would add stress on athletes and universities.
“It is hard to imagine a model if you continue with a 12 game schedule... and then lay on top of that a 16 or 24-team playoff,” Emmert said. “You wind up putting young men through an awful lot.”
Emmert said he’s concerned about “a lot of bad blood,” resulting from much of the recent conference realignment.
“When you have people shifting overnight or you have people not talking to each other, there’s no information being traded and there’s a lot of misinformation going on, you wind up really damaging the collegiality that’s necessary to pull off shared governance,” he said. “What I worked on this summer with presidents and commissioners was that if we’re going to make changes, that they be as calm, and thoughtful, rational and careful as they can be.”
But the latest round of moves that impacted virtually all of the major conferences was far more turbulent.
“There weren’t a lot of winners coming out of that,” Emmert said. “You wind up with the lawsuits, you wind up with a lot of bad blood, a lot of bad publicity.”
After the luncheon, Emmert answered reporters’ questions ranging from consideration of a $2,000 stipend for student athletes to denying schools bowl bids or postseason tournament appearances if they fail to meet prescribed academic goals.
He said a stipend is really needed, but the amount up to $2,000 would be up to schools. Emmert said it would not be a pay-for-play incentive, but additional money to cover the cost of education for Division I athletes. However, the proposal remains under review.
Emmert said he likes the present tournament setup in basketball and opposes changes to the present 68-team format.
“It’s working great,” he said.