Division I

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Publish date: May 2, 2013

DI Board recognizes new conference, 
changes bowl qualification

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

The Division I Board of Directors on Thursday officially recognized the prospective Big East Conference as a Division I multisport conference, effective Aug. 1.

Members of the new conference include Butler, Providence, Creighton, St. John’s, DePaul, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Xavier.

The addition creates changes within the current Division I governance structure as well, adding representatives of the Big East to the Leadership Council, Legislative Council and Championships/Sport Management Cabinet and changing the vote weights for the Division I (no football) conferences to 1.14 from 1.2 on those groups. The new Big East will also enter the rotation for representation on the Division I Board of Directors.

The Board also noted that on July 1, the current Big East Conference will change its name to the American Athletic Conference. That conference will maintain its positions within the governance structure.

As part of the conference discussion, the presidents adopted a resolution that requests a thorough review of voting ratios and subdivision placement issues over the next 15 months. The resolution also asks that the review take place either through a substantial agreement between conferences or through the planned evaluation of the Division I governance structure and process.

In other business, the Board decided that Football Bowl Subdivision teams with 6-6 records heading into their conference championship game will be qualified to participate in a bowl game whether they win or lose that game.

In the last two years, teams from UCLA and Georgia Tech faced that situation and received waivers to play in a bowl. The Board’s action will make future waivers for similar situations unnecessary.

Previously, 6-7 teams were eligible only through the waiver process or through qualification criteria to be used only if more bowl slots exist than qualified teams to fill them.

Thursday’s action is intended to benefit student-athletes who earn the right to participate in a conference championship but who would lose bowl eligibility as a result of that championship. Some schools assert that the original policy, making 6-7 teams eligible only if more bowl games than qualified teams exist, is sufficient. Those schools have concerns that teams with winning records may not be selected to bowls in favor of teams with losing records.

In 2010, the membership changed bowl eligibility criteria to make 6-6 teams eligible for bowls.  The arguments for the change included providing a bowl experience for student-athletes and a belief that total bowl game numbers will be determined by the market.

The rule change will be effective for the 2013 football season.


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