The days of the NCAA as we know it are numbered -- at least according to Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Last week it was SEC commissioner Mike Slive taking a few subtle jabs at the NCAA. Yesterday, Bowlsby took those comments one step further.
"I think we all have a sense that transformative change is going to happen," Bowlsby said as he addressed the crowd of reporters at Big 12 media day in Dallas. "This is not a time when trimming around the edges is going to make very much of a difference."
So what exactly does Bowlsby have in mind? While he stopped short of suggesting BCS conference schools break away from the NCAA altogether - Bowlsby suggested that would be a "last resort" - the commissioner suggested BCS conference schools form a new division for only the highest-level football-playing schools.
"We've made it too easy to get into Division I and too easy to stay there," Bowlsby says. "Northern Iowa and Texas aren't much alike."
And he's right. The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" in college athletics continues to grow. Using Bowlsby's example, the University of Texas generated $163.3 million in revenue in 2011-12. Northern Iowa's revenue from rights and licensing in 2011 was just $2.4 million.
As this article on CBSsports.com says, "Get ready, then, for Division 4, where BCS schools are going to set their own rules."
The new division could potentially include new rules on scholarship limits and recruiting. Division 4 schools could even offer student-athletes cash stipends, something smaller Division I schools have always opposed.
Bowlsby even went as far as suggesting BCS schools would only play games amongst themselves, completely cutting out smaller leagues like the Mountain West and Sun Belt.
"I think some kind of reconfiguration of how we govern is in order," says Bowlsby.
And the smaller conferences are starting to accept it.
"It will surprise me if [the BCS conferences] don't get what they want," says Karl Benson, commissioner of the Sun Belt.
Bowlsby's comments are just the beginning, but it appears it's an issue of when, not if, we see big changes in the structure of college athletics.