KANSAS CITY, Mo. — NCAA president Mark Emmert believes another round of conference realignment could be sparked by schools trying to position themselves to play in a proposed four-team college football playoff.
Emmert spoke on a variety of issues during a stop at the Big 12's annual meeting Thursday, including the growing gulf between "haves" and "have nots," the loopholes that exist for student-athletes to transfer, and the concussion epidemic in all level of sports.
Still, it was college football's postseason that dominated discussions.
While a four-team playoff is being worked on by college football officials, how the teams are picked and how a new format affects the rest of the postseason is still to be determined.
"If there's going to be significant movement by FBS institutions over the course of the summer," Emmert said, "it will be driven by that."
Big 12 administrators said this week that they support a four-team playoff model in which participants are chosen by a selection committee, rather than a complicated formula such as the BCS standings, which are based on computer rankings and polls.
The Big 12 has also said it favors playoff semifinals occurring outside of the current bowl structure, even though some conferences prefer to keep intact some of its historic relationships between bowls and leagues.
The Big 12 and SEC recently announced a partnership for their own bowl game, tentatively called the Champions Bowl, which will pit their champions against each other — or the next-best team from each league if the champions are playing in the proposed playoff.
"There's a laundry list of issues," Emmert said of the playoff structure. "Is it going to be part of the bowls? Isn't it? How do you handle the allocation of money? How do you pick four teams? Do you play on campuses or not?"
Emmert also cautioned that a playoff could deepen an existing gulf between high-resource schools and those with limited financial means, pointing out Michigan has been a football power almost since the game was invented, "and I would imagine it would remain so."
"When you go back and look at history, the financial differences have always been there, but some universities have huge competitive advantages through history and geography and decisions they've made over decades that are in some ways insurmountable," Emmert said. "It just reinforces some of those inherent advantages that some universities have had for a century."