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Pac-12 commish: Big-time college football should declare independence from NCAA

Times are changing in college football, with the new transfer portal, the NIL landscape, and now open calls for the NCAA to get out of its business entirely.

That's the view of Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff. Football has enough power, he says, that the big-time schools and conference should govern themselves.

“We have to be realistic about the fact that football is a unique animal among the rest of the college sports and that there are conferences that should be more aligned and should be more in control of the future of high-level college football,” Kliavkoff said, via The Athletic.

What's more, the Pac-12 commissioner isn't alone in his thinking.

Kliavkoff said he has spoken with "several" other FBS commissioners who support the idea of big-time college football breaking away from the NCAA.

“I’ve had conversations with several of the FBS commissioners," he said. 

"And I’ve been surprised by the unanimous support for the idea among the folks that I’ve spoken to about taking football rule-making and football rule enforcement out of the NCAA and investing it in an organization that is run by the 10 (FBS) conferences.”

Alabama Crimson Tide cheerleaders prior to a college football game in the SEC.

Big-time college football could declare independence from the NCAA

What would it look like?

Kliavkoff was short on any actual proposal of what an independent college football system would look like, but there are some hints.

For instance, the current College Football Playoff, operated by the 10 FBS conferences plus Notre Dame, could serve as its own governing body.

Or the powers that be could create a new, separate structure and appoint a commissioner-like figure that all would support, similar to the NFL.

Any way you look at it, according to Kliavkoff and others who share his general view, having the NCAA govern over 1,000 schools in three divisions is a bit much.

The interests of major college football are not the same as Divisions II or III, and it makes practical sense for there to be a formal separation.

Prior to kickoff at a college football game in the ACC.

Kliavkoff isn't alone in thinking college football should make its own way

College football can "create our own rules"

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith also recently suggested that the major conferences and Notre Dame have enough power and organization to govern themselves.

Smith — who said he was "just throwing ideas out" there — proposed that the 10 existing FBS conferences move away from the NCAA and move under the authority of the College Football Playoff directly.

"We [can] create our own rules, create our own governance structure, have our own enforcement, we have our own requirements, whatever that might be," Smith said to ESPN.

"That might be in the medical space, for example, if a student-athlete is injured and hurt in his or her senior year. You take care of them when they're done until they're healed. And we have the funding in place to do that.

"You don't touch anything else with the NCAA. You keep the academic requirements in place. The reality is, those schools who offer 85 scholarships in football have made a different commitment and that needs to be addressed."

(h/t The Athletic)

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