Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
I'm flying back to Chicago this morning, after spending the last 48 hours in D.C. for the LEAD1 Fall meetings. That means I get to dust something off I don't get to use as often as I'd like these days....
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
I'm not sure if he was the first, but Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith was certainly the most influential athletic director to openly muse this summer that maybe FBS football would be better off outside the structure of the NCAA. Behind closed doors, Smith certainly wasn't the only athletic director to wonder the same question.
On Wednesday, dozens of ADs from FBS institutions, with more connecting via Zoom, met in Washington D.C for the Lead1 Fall Meetings to discuss this very question, along with several other college sports governance questions.
I spoke to several ADs from the MAC, Sun Belt, Mountain West, Big 12 and ACC, as well as other industry leaders, to get a sense of what folks were thinking before the meetings, as well as after.
After carefully considering just exactly what would go into formally breaking football away, as well as the concerns and goals of the athletic leaders...LEAD1 isn't ready to co-sign Smith's initial musings...at least not yet. Tom McMillen, president of LEAD1, confirmed to me, along with several other reporters, that the preference of the group right now would be to reform the current NCAA system. If that isn't possible, then perhaps other measures could be examined. But as of right this second, the majority opinion isn't to abandon ship.
FBS ADs have wildly different budgets, different local political situations, different constituencies, etc...but there was broad agreement among the folks I've been talking to on a few key points.