San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 18th, 2008
Bill Peterson’s Blog: Texas State’s moving target

The Texas State University System Board of Regents placed their stamp of approval last week on the university’s effort to enter the top level of college football.

Now, if only we knew what that means.

The NCAA, of course, has placed a moratorium on college athletic programs changing divisions or levels within divisions until 2011. But the moratorium isn’t simply a measure slow down all the movement between divisions. The NCAA needs to make sense of its classification system, period.

That means Texas State could be aiming at a moving target as it tries to upgrade its football program from its present Football Championship Series (FCS) class to the Football Bowl Series (FBS) class. When the moratorium lifts, Texas State can expect the requirements for FBS inclusion to be much different than they are today. But no one knows how different.

It seems, speaking broadly, there are two kinds of college athletic departments and three divisions for them. The real division between these types of athletic department concerns not football, but basketball.

Division II athletic programs are clamoring to join the Division I basketball because the rewards for going to the NCAA basketball tournament are so great. As schools that just want to make teams available for their students like where they are in Division III, it appears Division II is in danger of extinction.

Then we meet up with the power schools and conferences playing FBS football, and another set of problems arises. The power schools want fewer schools in their ranks, not more. They do not want to share their wealth. The major FBS conferences are especially notorious about their exclusionary goals.

Expect a very interesting battle within the NCAA between the few schools with a lot going in sports, and the many schools with little.

Given the time lines, the NCAA will take at least another two years determining who can play FBS football and who can’t. We can’t imagine at this point what the NCAA will require in terms of average football attendance requirements, conference affiliations, breadth of athletic programs or whatever.

Meanwhile, Texas State has time to raise money and upgrade its program across the board. Not knowing exactly what the target is, the best Texas State can do is aim as high as possible and hope it’s enough.

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