The “academic, health and overall well-being” of athletes should be considered first and foremost as leaders of the Football Bowl Subdivision conferences weigh potential changes in the structure of the college football postseason, the faculty athletics representatives of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I member institutions said in a statement sent Thursday to the commissioners and the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee.
Citing research tying length of seasons and numbers of games to negative health and academic outcomes, the faculty representatives said the new postseason model, which commissioners are forming now and which will take effect in the 2013-14 season, must not: increase the current number of games individual teams play (now 12 to 14, depending on how far a team makes it in the postseason); extend beyond Jan. 9 (ideally, not beyond Jan. 1); or interfere with classes and exams.
But while a four-team playoff to replace the bowl system -- an idea with broad support that is likely to emerge from the discussions, recent reports say -- meets those criteria, it could lead to “slippery slope consequences” of too many teams, too many games and too long a postseason, the FARs said. They pointed to the Division I men’s basketball tournament as evidence.
“We know that this concern is shared by all of us, including university presidents and chancellors; conference commissioners; and directors of athletics,” the FARs wrote. “We also know that all of us are concerned with the academic, health, and overall well-being of our football student-athletes. We therefore urge that a critical component in evaluating different post-season models should be what research tells us regarding the factors that most negatively impact student-athlete academic performance and that most contribute to football student-athlete injuries and serious injuries.”