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He slammed the organization’s excruciatingly detailed rule book as “laughable,” hoping instead for a process that is focused on a desired outcome rather than, say, the three pages in the rule book on what size of envelope can be used to send mail to a recruit.

“This system,” said University of North Carolina President Thomas Ross, a former judge, “is not a good one.”

Emmert also wants to overhaul requirements for initial eligibility and transfers. That includes raising the grade-point average for incoming athletes from 2.0 to 2.3, restricting the number of noncore credits from transfers and adding the option of an academic redshirt for freshmen who don’t fully qualify.

Emmert believes the changes, if passed, would be in place by this time next year.

He was much less definitive on the conference realignment that is altering the landscape of college athletics. As president of the University of Washington, Emmert helped kick off the countrywide game of musical conferences by voting to admit Colorado and Utah and transform the Pac-10 into the Pac-12.

The vitriol, the surprise moves and the seemingly hasty decisions bother him. Emmert compared this period to Europe in June of 1914 before World War I erupted, with each country suspiciously eyeing the other. But Emmert’s authority doesn’t extend to realignment; that belongs to the school presidents and conference commissioners.

“I think we could ultimately end up with two conferences,” LSU’s Martin said, “one called ESPN and one called Fox.”

Laughter followed.

Emmert suggested a 30-day waiting period when a school wants to shift affiliations. And he said - wishfully so, perhaps - that “rationality and calmness” could return to the decision-making process.

But the lure of a conference’s automatic Bowl Championship Series berth, better television contracts, more exposure and more money are powerful intoxicants. The presidents and chancellors expressed distaste and disappointment in the process, but each of their schools or conferences are involved.

“That’s become a status symbol,” Emmert said of the BCS. “We’ve created athletics as a proxy for academic status.”

After Emmert left, Boise State University President Bob Kustra said he thought he knew what the audience was thinking while sitting in a room with silver pots of coffee and little glass bottles of soda where change was discussed for 3 1/2 hours.

“There they go talking again. They do such a great job of it,” Kustra said. “Where’s the action?”