THE BLOG
09/21/2011 07:23 pm ET | Updated Nov 21, 2011

Once Upon a Time in the Football Life of the NCAA

It's 2020 and the look of athletic conferences throughout the NCAA has dramatically changed with the emergence of what is now being called the football Mega-Conferences. The Big Ten (which has periodically changed its logo since Penn State joined in 1990) now boasts 20 teams with the inclusion of Iowa State, Cincinnati, Louisville, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Akron and Miami of Ohio. Not to be outdone, the ACC is now up to 22 schools, including Central Florida, South Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, South Carolina State and West Virginia, which escaped from the Big East.

Not wanting to be left on the sidelines, the Pac-12 is now the Pac-20 with the inclusion of Nevada, Montana, Montana State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Utah State, Boise State and, of course, Hawaii, while the Big Twelve, which was completed gutted with the abandonment of Texas and Oklahoma, started picking up schools with absolutely no regional affiliation at all in order just to survive. Schools like North Dakota State, South Dakota State, New Mexico State, Georgia State and Alabama State were solicited so that the conference wouldn't disappear altogether. The remaining conferences (which used to be viable conferences before the financial fleecing began) are barely recognizable now and have resorted to filling their conferences with Division II and III schools.

The Big East, now thoroughly depleted from a decade ago, has changed its name to the Little East, and its only selling point is that it boasts having the conference with the most national championships of any other conference by inviting Princeton (28), Yale (26) and Harvard (7) to join Connecticut, Penn, Dartmouth and Rutgers. As I mentioned, Texas and Oklahoma opted out of the Big 12 and decided to start their own conference that they named the Texahoma Conference, in which they are the only two competing schools. They play each other every week for 12 weeks with a playoff against each other. The decision to do that was not an arbitrary one, since the television revenues the two schools share are in the multi-millions, which the two schools split equally. In other words, leaving the Big 12 was a win-win situation for both institutions.

Notre Dame, insistent on not joining any conference because of its colossal television money, has decided to opt out of the NCAA altogether and start its own football league, which has gone into competition with the NFL.

The regular season schedules of these football programs now go deep into December with the conference playoffs running through Christmas and New Year's and the bowl games (of which there are now 60, meaning there is only one Division I team in the nation not competing in a bowl game) run through the first week of February, with the national championship game being played on the Ides of March. Because of the extended, seven-month schedule, football "student-athletes" (an total oxymoron at this time) are only required to take true-false, fill-in-the-blank or matching exams, while the required number of courses for graduation has been reduced by half (since there is little time for these athletes to study) and graduation GPAs have been revised downward to 1.5 out of 4 to accommodate such a stringent schedule.

Plans are in the making that by 2030 there will only be two conferences in the entire country, separated by the Mississippi River and creatively renamed the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, made up of all 119 Division I universities. Such an amalgamation of these schools would entail that football would be played from September to early June, with graduation dates moved back to mid-July to accommodate the respective schedules. The possible move has been applauded by most university presidents and just about every television network in the United States. For football junkies who want football 24/7/365, it would be an answered prayer, and the NCAA, whose revenue coffers are already in the billions, has gleefully agreed.