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Oklahoma State Football

NCAA Division I Council Takes Action with Big 12 Effect and Portal Recovery

May 18, 2022
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STILLWATER – As expected the NCAA Division I Council voted to adopt two recommendations from the NCAA Transformation Committee on May 18, 2022. The Council voted to do away with the NCAA mandate that conferences with 12 members of more must divide into divisions and play a championship game between the two division winners to decide their championship. A little later the Council rubber stamped the recommendation to abolish the 25 initial scholarship limit in Division I football. The total of 85-scholarship players on a Division I football roster remains.

Taking that one first, this has been something Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy insisted needed to be done almost since the beginning of the NCAA Transfer Portal. The thought that a school should get a scholarship back to use every time they lost one in the portal seemed sensible.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Mike Gundy has always argued for a player for a player when it comes to portal math.

“It’s really simple, Gundy said last summer. “If you lose a player to the transfer portal then you can pick up a player. One-for-one and forget the 25 initial limit. You keep the 85-limit on scholarship players. You have teams that have been on probation or gone through tough times and they are down 10, 15,even 20 scholarship players and you ask them to play games. Player safety, you have to let schools replenish their roster.”

That is exactly what happens now. Schools can take the number of players they need to in order to get to 85 scholarship athletes.

For those keeping score, Oklahoma State is currently at 84-scholarship football players. The Texas A&M portal transfer Deondre Jackson made the number 84. Oklahoma State has one left and is ideally looking for an offensive lineman addition. They won’t take anybody unless they feel they can help the team win. 

Coaching those players to a championship looks like it will change now. The NCAA Division I Council says you can organize your conference however you want, schedule the way your schools decide, and then play the championship game in the format that the conference desires. This change comes after the 10-school Big 12 petitioned for a championship game and played a round robin schedule with the two teams with the best (conference) records playing for the championship. Last year it was 8-1 Oklahoma State playing 8-1 Baylor.

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Oklahoma State played Baylor in the 2021 Big 12 Championship.

The bigger Power Five conferences will not be able to play a complete round robin, and the Big 12 won’t be able to do that as well starting in 2023 with 14 teams slated to play that season. It still appears the overwhelming popular move is to go to a balanced schedule with the entire conference and then have the two best teams play for the championship.

The Pac-12 came out with that release announcing the change in their conference moments after the Division I Council vote was known. It is expected that the ACC will soon follow suit. The SEC and Big Ten will be meeting and discussing that issue as well.

It’s nice for the Big 12 to be on the cutting edge of something.

Discussion from...

NCAA Division I Council Takes Action with Big 12 Effect and Portal Recovery

944 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Danny Deck
Joe Khatib
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Actually OSU was 8 - 1 and Baylor was 7 -2 having lost to OSU and TCU and OSU lost to Iowa State going into the Championship game.
CaliforniaCowboy
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I'm not really in favor of the "no division" requirement, unless you can have a round-robin format like the B12 did.

If everybody does not play everybody, then you might as well require divisions, which would typically end up with just as equal a matchup as playing random teams. Maybe if they were required to take the NFL approach and have the weaker conference teams play an easier schedule and the stronger conf teams play a tougher schedule, then it might produce a better matchup. Conferences like the SEC are simply going to schedule games such that their big money programs are guaranteed to end up at the top.
Orangeheart72
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I'm more optomistic about this change Cal. Of course, you have to wonder/perhaps worry how the championship teams will be selected. But since the conference chooses, shame on the conference if they allow tricky scheduling and/or set up picks that are incorrect. I'd personally be good with "vote of the head coaches." This prevents an obviously lucky or even late season depleted/losing team from slipping into a championship game when there's somewhat obviously a better matchup. I guess we'll see.....politics vs structured method.
Orangeheart72
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Danny Deck
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One of the reasons I hear most often for doing this is so a player who is at a school for 4 years can play in every conference stadium. It would be weird if they totally jettisoned that to protect some schools. I would think ESPN would be furious as well.
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