Why SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Is Thinking About Backing out of FBS

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 30, 2013

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive
SEC Commissioner Mike SliveKelly Lambert

When it comes to posturing in college football, there are different levels of threats. 

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany suggested that his conference could de-emphasize athletics and drop down to Division III if the Ed O'Bannon case versus the NCAA doesn't go in the NCAA's favor.

Ridiculous? Yes. 

SEC commissioner Mike Slive, however, made a more believable threat Monday.

While speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors in Birmingham, Slive suggested that the SEC could move towards a divisional split if full cost of attendance isn't included in athletic scholarships, according to AL.com.

Obviously, if things like that don't get accomplished, then it may be appropriate to talk about some alternative or division or something like that. But that's not our desire. That's not our goal and that's not something we're trying to get to.

This comes on the heels of last week's report in USA Today that suggests that other backroom conversations on the topic are being held among unspecified decision-makers.

Big news, for sure. When Slive speaks, college football should—and often does—listen.

In this case, it's a realistic possibility.

The proposal that would allow programs to include a $2,000 per year stipend to cover miscellaneous expenses associated with attending college was tabled by the NCAA Board of Directors in January 2012 and has gone "back to the drawing board," according the Chronicle of Higher Education.

In reality, though, that $2,000 figure still wouldn't bridge the gap in an athletic scholarship. The gap in the estimated cost of attendance varies from school-to-school. Programs like Auburn ($5,396) and LSU ($3,050) estimate that the personal and transportation costs not covered in a scholarship would be more than $2,000 per season, while Georgia's estimates put that gap at $1,590 for 2012-13.

It'd be a start though.

Considering the schism that exists within Division I, some sort of division or re-classification is almost inevitable.

Alabama's bottom line is far different than that of South Alabama. Notre Dame's is far different than Texas-San Antonio's. So why should they play by the same rules?

They shouldn't. It's not practical. It's not good business, and after all, this is a business.

Does that mean a split from the NCAA? That's where it may get tricky. The benefit from being under the NCAA's tax-exempt umbrella cannot be discounted.

There is a happy medium, and a divisional split like the one that formed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) could be on the horizon. The difference between the "haves" and "have nots" in college football is getting bigger by the day, and the structure of first the BCS and now the new College Football Playoff makes that crystal clear.

If Slive doesn't get his way about full cost of attendance, that relationship could get further defined with a split of FBS.