SEC, Texas A&M Realignment: From Conference Room to Courtroom

Scott GallowayContributor ISeptember 8, 2011

On the field competition is fierce, but the competition that takes place off the field is hurting the growth of college football.
On the field competition is fierce, but the competition that takes place off the field is hurting the growth of college football.Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Recent conference realignment moves by Texas A&M, the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 schools appear to have college football headed to the courtroom.

Conference realignment is no longer just a boardroom discussion for college presidents, commissioners and athletic directors.

In recent years, corporate sponsors and television networks have been included in such talks.

Hopefully, the discussion will move to the courtroom and include judges that are responsible for justice for all.

As Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution said recently, “There is no common good in college football.”  No where is that more obvious than in the area of conference alignments.

Every school is looking out for itself, every conference seeking its own good and being encouraged to do so by corporate sponsors and television networks.

No athletic league competition is perfect, but the college football system's greatest flaw is the lack of an effective conference structure. 

Why are so many schools up in arms about conference alignment? Read an excerpt from the book, It's Possible! Realignment and Playoffs—College Football's Opportunity:

"The 120 schools of the FBS are divided into 11 conferences and three teams compete as independents. These conferences have been formed as schools enter into agreements to compete against one another in athletic competition. The NCAA does not have input in the formation of these conferences, some of which were established more than 75 years ago.

"This lack of oversight has led to some inconsistencies...You might say the current alignment of the conferences is a result of evolution. The alignments could use some intelligent design. Unlike professional leagues and many state high school associations, the NCAA does not have any say over conference alignment. In my opinion, this is the most obvious weakness of college athletics."  

The book describes a proposal for realignment of all 120 FBS schools into new conferences and a championship playoff that does not rely on subjective rankings or selection committees.

Such a proposal will likely not be adopted without legal action. The book questions the "dog-eat-dog" nature of schools that serve the public as tax-exempt, non-profit corporations.

The recent conference realignment moves could be creating the perfect storm for court-ordered change.