A group of college athletics reformers is recommending governance of top football programs be spun off from the NCAA and handled by a separate entity.
The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which is independent of the NCAA, is proposing that the new body oversee football teams within the Football Bowl Subdivision, which comprises the most competitive Division I conferences.
Change is needed in part because FBS conferences have outsized influence in NCAA governing matters, the commission argues.
Although the NCAA manages all varsity sports at its member schools, including eligibility requirements for student-athletes and health guidelines, it does not run the championship series of the 130 institutions that participate in FBS football.
That's controlled by a group called the College Football Playoff, which in turn distributes most of the millions of dollars in revenue from the championship among FBS schools and conferences.
The NCAA receives none of this money, yet the association is charged with developing guidelines for the sport and absorbing expenses associated with it.
Under the proposal, the new entity would be funded by College Football Playoff revenue and would craft rules for FBS football. It would also manage certain issues, including litigation and enforcement of safety measures.
FBS schools wouldn't have to leave the NCAA, which would continue to oversee their non-football sports as well as the lower tier of Division I football.
The commission also suggested that all Division I conferences have equal voting power in governing matters, replacing the current system in which FBS conference votes are more heavily weighted. The Power Five conferences, the wealthiest of the Division I leagues, also have some autonomy.
Vast funding disparities also exist, even among FBS institutions, the commission notes. The Power Five, which include the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences, generate significant revenue from NCAA allocations, as well as media rights and postseason matches, according to commission research. The other FBS leagues, however, rely much more on student fees and institutional support.
The Knight Commission has no power to enact these changes, but it met with the NCAA president to present them, representatives of the group said during a virtual meeting Thursday.
The NCAA did not respond to Higher Ed Dive's request for comment Thursday.