Monday, May 21, 2007

Big 12, college football could seek extra year of eligibility

Big 12 Conference officials will consider a significant player-eligibility change in college football when they convene this week for their annual spring meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A top Nebraska official is helping push for the major change.

Husker athletic director Steve Pederson is chairman of the NCAA football issues committee, which is advocating a proposal that would give athletes five seasons of playing eligibility. As it stands, players are allowed to play four seasons in a five-year window.

“We’ve asked that it be put on the agenda of every conference in the country at their spring meetings so it can be discussed,” Pederson said of the proposal. “As a committee, we believe it has validity. And now we want to find out if other people believe like we do.”

The Big 12 meetings begin today and last through Friday. Among other agenda items for discussion will be an examination of future football and basketball championship sites. Omaha is among five cities that have forwarded formal bids to play host to future Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg said the conference’s goal is to select future championship sites by the end of summer.

As for the player-eligibility proposal, Pederson said he hasn’t heard any convincing arguments against allowing players to play for five years.

“Some people might wonder about the costs,” he said. “Well, you have 85 players on scholarship, so the cost isn’t going to be any more if you have 85 scholarships spread over five years. The reality is a high percentage of players are here (at Nebraska) for five years anyway. That’s the situation at most schools.

“So why not let the players play the whole time?”

Current NCAA football eligibility rules state that if a player plays up to 30 percent of the games in a particular season, he exhausts that year of eligibility — pending an appeal to the conference and NCAA in certain cases (such as injury).

“What we end up with is a bunch of paperwork and coaches calculating whether or not a freshman should get in a game or not get in a game,” Pederson said. “If you have this (five-year eligibility), you would simply say, ‘When you start college, you have five years to play,’ and we wouldn’t worry about all this other stuff.

“If you would happen to get hurt and not be able to play two of those years, that’s the way it goes.”

The NCAA football issues committee eventually will review feedback from conferences and decide if there’s enough support to proceed with legislation.

Meanwhile, Pederson obviously would like to see Omaha land the Big 12 basketball tournaments. That would be great for the state and for the Husker program, he said.

The other four cities that have bid to play host to future basketball tournaments starting in 2008-09 are Dallas, Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.

Cities that have bid for the football championship are Arlington, Texas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio.

Future championship sites have been set only for the coming 2007-08 season — football in San Antonio and basketball in Kansas City.

There has been discussion of anchoring championship games at sites for extended periods, a scenario to which Pederson is opposed.

“By rotating them, we’ve given a lot of people a chance to see a lot of different events,” he said. “There would have to be some compelling reason to go away from that.”

Perhaps most important, he said, is having conference championships in venues that are full and in cities that show excitement for the event.

“We tried that in St. Louis, and it didn’t do very well other than Nebraska fans,” Pederson said.

1 comment:

JJ said...

Who else thinks that sport has gone too far? I mean there is so much money involved in sport now that there is very little sport left anymore. Sport spread betting used to be frowned upon when I was a kid as it made people desperate for money to bet with but now it’s nothing compared to how disgraceful a footballer’s salary is! These people train a few times a week and play one game a week if they’re lucky and get paid a week more than I earn a year! And yet no authority has ever questioned it! Why!? There’s a minimum wage, why can’t there be a maximum wage as well based on the type of job? So all you betters out there, why don’t you start spread betting on how much players are going to be paid next instead of what used to be sport?