Delany OK with no AQ, as long as Big Ten has Rose
NEW YORK (AP) - Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says he would support the elimination of automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series as long as the teams from his league get to play in the Rose Bowl.
Delany was at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Thursday, part of a panel discussion with Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford, Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky and Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson.
The commissioners, university presidents and athletic directors who control the BCS are in the early stages of determining the future of major college football’s controversial postseason system.
Among the many possible changes is eliminating automatic bids to the highest-paying bowl games and having the BCS set only the matchup for the No. 1 vs. No. 2 national championship game. The other bowl games would be free to make deals with whatever schools and leagues they would like, much the way it was before the BCS.
Banowsky said automatic-bid status had become divisive. C-USA, which does not have an automatic bid, just lost three members _ SMU, Houston and UCF _ to the Big East, one of six conferences that has an automatic bid through the 2013 season. Thompson’s league, which also is a non-AQ conference, is losing Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East.
“I feel strongly that it has been a negative driver from our perspective,” Banowsky said. “I hope that as we evolve the BCS we do it in a way that can create a more happy BCS without creating these class systems. I think it’s possible to do it, create a competitive format that requires teams to be competitive teams in order to participate and rewards the teams that are competitive.”
Delany followed with a response that drew laughs from those in the crowded hotel conference room.
“As long as I can go to the Rose Bowl, I’m OK without automatic bids,” Delany said. “If Brit doesn’t want automatic bids, that’s fine with me. And if he doesn’t want me to have one, that’s OK, as long as I can go to Pasadena.”
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 have a long and lucrative relationship with the Rose Bowl. In the current BCS set up, the champions of those leagues play in the Rose Bowl unless they are in the national championship game. The BCS has allowed teams from other conferences more opportunities to play in the prestigious California game, including TCU of the Mountain West last season.
“That opportunity wouldn’t have come about if the BCS system hadn’t existed,” Thompson said. “However, is it a better world for that opportunity to exist for the Big Ten and the (Pac-12) without these automatic qualifying standards? That discussion has started and I’m excited about the opportunity to continue to have that and see where it comes out.”
Thompson has proposed both an eight- and 16-team playoff system to the other 10 major conference commissioners.
“It hasn’t gone real well,” he said with a smile.
Swofford, along with Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, proposed in 2008 a four-team playoff format known as the plus-one. It was shot down by not just the Big Ten and the then-Pac-10, but the Big 12 and the Big East as well.