College presidents and NCAA officials meet today through Monday in Grapevine, Texas. Here are some of the issues:
The 12th game
Football teams have played an extra regular season game in select seasons, but the NCAA is considering making it permanent. "The pros are the revenue source, a significant one for so many schools," said Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who supports the measure. "Certainly another pro is you could put together some matchups that would enhance television packages, which could drive additional revenue. But the cons are the length of the season. You're going to have to squeeze that game in somewhere and player welfare could be a factor." FSU athletic director Dave Hart is against the measure: "I think it would make it nearly impossible to go back to the meaningful conversations about postseason football."
Academic bowl eligibility
Beginning in 2007 the NCAA plans to penalize programs with poor graduation rates by banning them from bowls. Overall, 57 percent of Division I football players graduated, according to the latest report by the NCAA, up from the 48 percent rate of four years ago. At the convention, the NCAA will adopt cutoffs for an academic progress rate and graduation success rate that will be used to target teams that don't meet them. Next fall there will be consequences for poor academic performance, including loss of scholarships, recruiting restrictions and bowl bans. If a 50 percent cutoff rate were used, 27 of the 56 bowl teams this season would be ineligible, including five BCS teams.
A proposal would give football players a fifth season of eligibility if it is completed within five years of enrolling. "I don't think that has any legs," Hart said. "I'd be shocked if that gets any serious discussion. I'm not personally against it. I just don't think there's enough support for it."
With more football coaches pushing above the $2-million salary level, presidents will discuss the escalation. "My goal in life has always been to earn as much money as my football coach," Vanderbilt chancellor Gordon Gee told the New York Times News Service. Gee makes more than his coach, but he's a rarity in Division I-A circles. Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione predicted that by spring, 12 to 15 coaches would make salaries of more than $2-million.
Times staff writers Antonya English and Brian Landman contributed to this report, which includes information from the New York Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.