Clemson president James Barker speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, Jan. 14, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — University of Georgia president Michael Adams presented his proposal for an eight-team major college football playoff to the NCAA Division I board of directors Monday in Nashville, and they decided to study the issue with others before making any moves.
Ultimately, though, the board would prefer BCS officials figure out what’s best for the postseason.
James Barker, chairman of the board and the president of Clemson, called the talks candid and constructive. But he said the directors believe the discussion should include presidents at the conference level and the committee overseeing the Bowl Championship Series.
The board also wants a task force announced last month by NCAA President Myles Brand to study issues over the use of student likenesses’ to expand its review and study commercialization as it relates to postseason football.
The task force hasn’t been picked and there’s no timeline for a report to the board.
Adams announced his proposal for an eight-team playoff for the Football Bowl Subdivision using the BCS games following years of opposition to a playoff. He unveiled his proposal on Jan. 8, hours after LSU won the BCS national championship game.
His playoff proposal used the Sugar, Orange, Rose and Fiesta bowls as the opening round, leading to semifinals and a championship game. Adams said he believes the study will result in additional tweaking to the BCS system.
“It’s not just me that’s talking about tweaking again,” said Adams, who also is chairman of the NCAA executive committee.
“It’s some of my colleagues. It’s the people in the conferences. It’s others. I don’t know if we will all get to the exact same decision.”
The Division I board did approve 45 of 47 proposals Monday, including scholarship protection for athletes dealing with pregnancies, injuries or other medical conditions. That protection will take affect immediately.
Both Divisions I and II allowed coaches to text message athletes who have signed letters of intent.
Division II also approved a program that would allow Canadian colleges to become members, and Division III upheld the ban on text messaging that took effect Aug. 1.
Division III placed limits on the use of male practice players in women’s team sports, including allowing only one practice per week. Division III also will continue discussions about possibly splitting into subdivisions or creating a new fourth division. Division III membership is expected to reach 480 within the decade.
But it was Adams’ proposal for an eight-team playoff that was most anticipated at this five-day convention, which ended Monday. He had said he wanted a special NCAA committee to work out the details.
Barker called the discussions positive, but that doesn’t mean the D-I board will make any decisions on a major college football playoff. He tossed responsibility for changing the postseason back to the BCS.
“I don’t think that there’s a desire on the part of the board to do anything other than what the structure currently in place would yield,” Barker said. “We don’t have that preconception.”
The 11 Bowl Subdivision commissioners who make up the BCS will meet in April in Miami and are expected to discuss the so-called plus-one format, which would create a four-team playoff.
The Division I board wants the BCS presidential oversight committee involved as well.
Adams said in a letter to Brand last week that the networks, conferences and bowls had too much control power over the postseason. Adams’ Bulldogs were left out of the national championship game after getting passed by LSU in the final BCS standings.
“I think there’s enough concern out there not just among the institutional presidents but among the student-athletes, among the fans, among people trying to pay for this among networks,” Adams said. “There are broad issues that need to be looked at.”
Asked if he still feels strongly about the eight-team playoff, Adams said he feels strongly that the major college football postseason can be tweaked.
“I’ve said all along that I don’t know I immediately thought everyone was going to agree with me on just the specific,” Adams said.
He also is concerned about commercialization and wants to get presidents more involved.
“That’s one of the things we’ve got to work through,” he said.