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FBS Split from NCAA: Support from Athletic Directors ‘Isn’t There’

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At The LEAD1 AD Summit on Wednesday in Washington D.C., a multitude of athletic directors were asked their opinions on the future of FBS football and the NCAA organization.

As steam has been building across social media and various other outlets calling to split the FBS from the NCAA, when the athletic directors were asked to discuss the idea, support for the split wasn’t there, according to multiple reports.


Tom McMillen, the CEO and president of the organization representing the 131 athletic directors in the FBS, said that by a show of hands in the room, it was clear they prefer the NCAA continues its oversight of college football, despite more recent chatter about the possible breakaway of the sport from the NCAA.

McMillen told ESPN, “Rarely do we have such consensus on an issue. It was doubly reaffirmed today that the status quo was not acceptable, and that there was a strong, very strong preference for a model in the NCAA that is extremely streamlined and much less bureaucratic. That’s a lot of details to be worked out in that, but a much [more] streamlined governance within the NCAA. And if that can’t be accomplished, move it to the outside.”

While this does not necessarily mean that an FBS split from the NCAA won’t happen, it will definitely require more support from athletic directors around the country in order to get off the ground.


As the NCAA has a large influence over the different facets of FBS football behind the scenes (rules, officiating, concussion litigation), there will need to be a new governing body to take over in the wake of a split from the NCAA.

FBS football is currently the only college sport that is governed by the NCAA but runs its own national championship through the College Football Playoff. The idea of breaking off FBS football from the NCAA began in December 2020, when the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics proposed it. Since then, in a world of the transfer portal, Name, Image, Likeness and new billon-dollar TV deals, the sport is changing, but apparently not enough to get athletic directors to want to give the NCAA the boot.

At least not yet.

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