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What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
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Once a Knight... Offline
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What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
I've been wondering about this for quite some time. Maybe someone who was around back then or is quite knowledgeable on the subject. I understand the split revolved around schools having to "choose" either the University division (1-A) or college division (1-AA) depending on size of school. Though I don't believe it was quite so voluntary was it? I know it was a different era, long before massive TV contracts/exposure, but conferences did exist and lots of big name Independents as well. What was the sentiment? It appears this split happened once there were well over 150 teams all in Division 1. I'm curious what everyone's feelings were at the time (and later), and what would happen if that split were to occur again (we are up to 130 teams now and still growing). The ramifications today would be huge, I'm guessing in the mid-late 70s they didn't see this as a problem or did they?

I'd love to hear everyone's take on the subject and maybe help bring to light WHY it happened? Should it have happened (if we were to go back in time)? And could it happen again?
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2019 01:24 PM by Once a Knight....)
07-31-2019 01:24 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
1978 split was pretty agreeable in how it happened.

There were conferences playing Division I in everything except football and the belief was they needed to play everything Division I except they weren't especially enthusiastic about Division I football and the high scholarship limit and lack of post-season opportunity that would exist for them.

The solution simply was to split football into I-A and I-AA with a lower scholarship limit, allowing one less assistant coach and the NCAA would provide a post-season opportunity for them. They wouldn't be in on the NCAA TV deal but their savings on 25 scholarships and one assistant position was more money than what their conference share of TV would have been.

It was truly a mutual deal. Those schools felt it was a better solution for them in being pushed to give up Division II football than being in an undivided Division I where they could offer fewer scholarships but would have no post-season to play for.
07-31-2019 01:46 PM
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Once a Knight... Offline
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 01:46 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  1978 split was pretty agreeable in how it happened.

There were conferences playing Division I in everything except football and the belief was they needed to play everything Division I except they weren't especially enthusiastic about Division I football and the high scholarship limit and lack of post-season opportunity that would exist for them.

The solution simply was to split football into I-A and I-AA with a lower scholarship limit, allowing one less assistant coach and the NCAA would provide a post-season opportunity for them. They wouldn't be in on the NCAA TV deal but their savings on 25 scholarships and one assistant position was more money than what their conference share of TV would have been.

It was truly a mutual deal. Those schools felt it was a better solution for them in being pushed to give up Division II football than being in an undivided Division I where they could offer fewer scholarships but would have no post-season to play for.

Interesting, looking at some of the schools on the FCS side in 1978, many of which have sense moved up to FBS, and others still wanting to move up, I wonder if many would've stayed on the FBS side if they could predict how the future w went with the explosion of bowl games, TV dollars, exposure, etc.

Schools I see on the 1-AA (FCS) side of that divide in 1978...

Boise St
Western Kentucky (WKU)
Middle Tenn St (MTSU)
UMass
UConn
Nevada

If I recall that list got much larger once several other conferences moved down to FCS in later years ie. Missouri Valley, PCAA, Ivy League, SoCon, Southland, also a fair number of independents too judging from the list I'm seeing here...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_NCAA_...all_season
07-31-2019 01:55 PM
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Once a Knight... Offline
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 01:55 PM)Once a Knight... Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 01:46 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  1978 split was pretty agreeable in how it happened.

There were conferences playing Division I in everything except football and the belief was they needed to play everything Division I except they weren't especially enthusiastic about Division I football and the high scholarship limit and lack of post-season opportunity that would exist for them.

The solution simply was to split football into I-A and I-AA with a lower scholarship limit, allowing one less assistant coach and the NCAA would provide a post-season opportunity for them. They wouldn't be in on the NCAA TV deal but their savings on 25 scholarships and one assistant position was more money than what their conference share of TV would have been.

It was truly a mutual deal. Those schools felt it was a better solution for them in being pushed to give up Division II football than being in an undivided Division I where they could offer fewer scholarships but would have no post-season to play for.

Interesting, looking at some of the schools on the FCS side in 1978, many of which have sense moved up to FBS, and others still wanting to move up, I wonder if many would've stayed on the FBS side if they could predict how the future w went with the explosion of bowl games, TV dollars, exposure, etc.

Schools I see on the 1-AA (FCS) side of that divide in 1978...

Boise St
Western Kentucky (WKU)
Middle Tenn St (MTSU)
UMass
UConn
Nevada

If I recall that list got much larger once several other conferences moved down to FCS in later years ie. Missouri Valley, PCAA, Ivy League, SoCon, Southland, also a fair number of independents too judging from the list I'm seeing here...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_NCAA_...all_season

1982 saw A LOT of teams moving down...

"Conference changes and new programs

This was the first season the Ivy League, Southern Conference, and Southland Conference competed at the I-AA (FCS) level.[7] Southwestern Louisiana] was the only team from those three conferences to remain in Division I-A, becoming an independent.
Ivy League — Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale
Southern Conference — Appalachian State, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Furman, Marshall, The Citadel, VMI, and Western Carolina
Southland Conference — Arkansas State, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, and Texas–Arlington
Southwestern Louisiana, who had been a member of the Southland during the 1981 season, remained in Division I-A as an Independent. The school was renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1999.
This season also saw the loss of Division I-A independent teams Colgate, Holy Cross, and Northeast Louisiana; dropping the total number of Division I-A teams down to 113 from the previous season's 137 teams.
As of 2019, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Northeast Louisiana (renamed the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1999), Louisiana Tech and Marshall have returned to Division I-A, renamed FBS in 2006."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_NCAA_...all_season
07-31-2019 02:04 PM
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Once a Knight... Offline
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 02:04 PM)Once a Knight... Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 01:55 PM)Once a Knight... Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 01:46 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  1978 split was pretty agreeable in how it happened.

There were conferences playing Division I in everything except football and the belief was they needed to play everything Division I except they weren't especially enthusiastic about Division I football and the high scholarship limit and lack of post-season opportunity that would exist for them.

The solution simply was to split football into I-A and I-AA with a lower scholarship limit, allowing one less assistant coach and the NCAA would provide a post-season opportunity for them. They wouldn't be in on the NCAA TV deal but their savings on 25 scholarships and one assistant position was more money than what their conference share of TV would have been.

It was truly a mutual deal. Those schools felt it was a better solution for them in being pushed to give up Division II football than being in an undivided Division I where they could offer fewer scholarships but would have no post-season to play for.

Interesting, looking at some of the schools on the FCS side in 1978, many of which have sense moved up to FBS, and others still wanting to move up, I wonder if many would've stayed on the FBS side if they could predict how the future w went with the explosion of bowl games, TV dollars, exposure, etc.

Schools I see on the 1-AA (FCS) side of that divide in 1978...

Boise St
Western Kentucky (WKU)
Middle Tenn St (MTSU)
UMass
UConn
Nevada

If I recall that list got much larger once several other conferences moved down to FCS in later years ie. Missouri Valley, PCAA, Ivy League, SoCon, Southland, also a fair number of independents too judging from the list I'm seeing here...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1978_NCAA_...all_season

1982 saw A LOT of teams moving down...

"Conference changes and new programs

This was the first season the Ivy League, Southern Conference, and Southland Conference competed at the I-AA (FCS) level.[7] Southwestern Louisiana] was the only team from those three conferences to remain in Division I-A, becoming an independent.
Ivy League — Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale
Southern Conference — Appalachian State, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Furman, Marshall, The Citadel, VMI, and Western Carolina
Southland Conference — Arkansas State, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, and Texas–Arlington
Southwestern Louisiana, who had been a member of the Southland during the 1981 season, remained in Division I-A as an Independent. The school was renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1999.
This season also saw the loss of Division I-A independent teams Colgate, Holy Cross, and Northeast Louisiana; dropping the total number of Division I-A teams down to 113 from the previous season's 137 teams.
As of 2019, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Northeast Louisiana (renamed the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1999), Louisiana Tech and Marshall have returned to Division I-A, renamed FBS in 2006."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_NCAA_...all_season

Then again in 1986: "The total number of Division 1-A teams dropped to 105 this season due to the loss of the Missouri Valley Conference and 5 of the 7 teams that were members of the conference: Drake, Illinois State, Indiana State, Southern Illinois, and West Texas State. Two of the league's members, Tulsa and Wichita State, became independents."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_NCAA_...all_season
07-31-2019 02:12 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
What happened in 1978 was really part of a much longer process that had been developing/occurring for several decades following the formation of the IAAUS (which later changed its name to the NCAA) in 1906. This was in response to several deaths occurring prior to that - "football" at that time just consisted of any college having 11 tough guys who played both defense and offense all game long in what were, in effect, fighting scrums. At first, the NCAA was not national and conferences formed which served as umbrella organizations that governed football regionally and didn't necessarily involve all schools playing one another and determining a "champion." For example, in Texas, the TIAA was formed, which was the governing body and the SWC was also formed, which involved direct competition (and many schools belonged or said they adhered to both). Eventually, over several years, the NCAA achieved nation-wide primacy as the umbrella governing body and the regional conferences regulated direct competition.

There was no formal distinction but there was generally considered to be a "major college" level and a "small college" level, which was generally accepted although self-designated, but schools could move up and down between them depending on who they scheduled and how well they did. Gradually, conference membership also helped determine who was "major" and who was not. At first, there were no athletic scholarships, but over time, schools began awarding "grants-in-aid" which amounted to the same thing and there was at first no limit to this. At first, there was no real money other than tickets and concessions, but with the advent of radio in the 30's and then TV in the 50's this began to change. In the late 50's and early 60's, the larger schools also began "two-platoon" football and specialists where there were designated offense and defense and special team players. This became formal in 1965. Freshmen could never play, but this was changed in 1968 and they no longer were forced to take a freshman red-shirt year.

All these changes reflected a clear distinction between the larger and smaller programs - in 1968, schools were required to self-designate as either "University" or "College" programs. And in 1973, a third division was added for "University" programs that didn't play football. In 1975, the first scholarship limits were put in place; thus creating a new distinction between those University programs that did want to grant scholarships at some level but not at the highest level of the top schools. Moreover, these schools wanted to compete for the (or a) national championship, but were not generally regarded as strong enough to warrant that. (A good example of these distinctions is the Ivy League; which more or less originally started football and dominated it early on but didn't want to grant scholarships or spend the kind of money others were willing to do).

Prior to the 1978 season, at the behest of the strongest and largest programs, the changes you are asking about took place. The NCAA created Division 1-A, for the largest programs with the most scholarships, Division 1-AA for the schools that wanted to grant scholarships but not at the highest level, Division 2 for those with even lower scholarship amounts and Division 3, for those with no scholarships at all. The names were changed to FBS and FCS later. Having all "self-designated" several years prior, the 1978 change wasn't as transformational as it might seem - it merely reflected what was already in process; primarily based on scholarships, but also on resource disparities, recruiting of two platoons and specialists, media rights, the bowl system, fan support etc... The FCS and other non-FBS Division created their own playoff system at the time, which has largely stayed the same (albeit expanding)since.
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2019 02:55 PM by Jared7.)
07-31-2019 02:29 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 02:29 PM)Jared7 Wrote:  What happened in 1978 was really part of a much longer process that had been developing/occurring for several decades following the formation of the IAAUS (which later changed its name to the NCAA) in 1906. This was in response to several deaths occurring prior to that - "football" at that time just consisted of any college having 11 tough guys who played both defense and offense all game long in what were, in effect, fighting scrums. At first, the NCAA was not national and conferences formed which served as umbrella organizations that governed football regionally and didn't necessarily involve all schools playing one another and determining a "champion." For example, in Texas, the TIAA was formed, which was the governing body and the SWC was also formed, which involved direct competition (and many schools belonged or said they adhered to both). Eventually, over several years, the NCAA achieved nation-wide primacy as the umbrella governing body and the regional conferences regulated direct competition.

There was no formal distinction but there was generally considered to be a "major college" level and a "small college" level, which was generally accepted although self-designated, but schools could move up and down between them depending on who they scheduled and how well they did. Gradually, conference membership also helped determine who was "major" and who was not. At first, there were no athletic scholarships, but over time, schools began awarding "grants-in-aid" which amounted to the same thing and there was at first no limit to this. At first, there was no real money other than tickets and concessions, but with the advent of radio in the 30's and then TV in the 50's this began to change. In the late 50's and early 60's, the larger schools also began "two-platoon" football and specialists where there were designated offense and defense and special team players. This became formal in 1965. Freshmen could never play, but this was changed in 1968 and they no longer were forced to take a freshman red-shirt year.

All these changes reflected a clear distinction between the larger and smaller programs - in 1968, schools were required to self-designate as either "University" or "College" programs. And in 1973, a third division was added for "University" programs that didn't play football. In 1975, the first scholarship limits were put in place; thus creating a new distinction between those University programs that did want to grant scholarships at some level but not at the highest level of the top schools. Moreover, these schools wanted to compete for the (or a) national championship, but were not generally regarded as strong enough to warrant that. (A good example of these distinctions is the Ivy League; which more or less originally started football and dominated it early on but didn't want to grant scholarships or spend the kind of money others were willing to do).

Prior to the 1978 season, at the behest of the strongest and largest programs, the changes you are asking about took place. The NCAA created Division 1-A, for the largest programs with the most scholarships, Division 1-AA for the schools that wanted to grant scholarships but not at the highest level, Division 2 for those with even lower scholarship amounts and Division 3, for those with no scholarships at all. The names were changed to FBS and FCS later. Having all "self-designated" several years prior, the 1978 change wasn't as transformational as it might seem - it merely reflected what was already in process; primarily based on scholarships, but also on resource disparities, recruiting of two platoons and specialists, media rights, the bowl system, fan support etc... The FCS and other non-FBS Division created their own playoff system at the time, which has largely stayed the same (albeit expanding)since.

For a lot of us on here the FBS/FCS split of 1978 seems like a relatively recent development in the storied history of the sport but it really was a different time than 2019 or even the 2010-2015 realignment era as to what the driving forces of change were.

Boatloads of money and the egos of university presidents are in play. Years ago there was honesty about what level a school belonged at.
07-31-2019 03:51 PM
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Once a Knight... Offline
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 02:29 PM)Jared7 Wrote:  What happened in 1978 was really part of a much longer process that had been developing/occurring for several decades following the formation of the IAAUS (which later changed its name to the NCAA) in 1906. This was in response to several deaths occurring prior to that - "football" at that time just consisted of any college having 11 tough guys who played both defense and offense all game long in what were, in effect, fighting scrums. At first, the NCAA was not national and conferences formed which served as umbrella organizations that governed football regionally and didn't necessarily involve all schools playing one another and determining a "champion." For example, in Texas, the TIAA was formed, which was the governing body and the SWC was also formed, which involved direct competition (and many schools belonged or said they adhered to both). Eventually, over several years, the NCAA achieved nation-wide primacy as the umbrella governing body and the regional conferences regulated direct competition.

There was no formal distinction but there was generally considered to be a "major college" level and a "small college" level, which was generally accepted although self-designated, but schools could move up and down between them depending on who they scheduled and how well they did. Gradually, conference membership also helped determine who was "major" and who was not. At first, there were no athletic scholarships, but over time, schools began awarding "grants-in-aid" which amounted to the same thing and there was at first no limit to this. At first, there was no real money other than tickets and concessions, but with the advent of radio in the 30's and then TV in the 50's this began to change. In the late 50's and early 60's, the larger schools also began "two-platoon" football and specialists where there were designated offense and defense and special team players. This became formal in 1965. Freshmen could never play, but this was changed in 1968 and they no longer were forced to take a freshman red-shirt year.

All these changes reflected a clear distinction between the larger and smaller programs - in 1968, schools were required to self-designate as either "University" or "College" programs. And in 1973, a third division was added for "University" programs that didn't play football. In 1975, the first scholarship limits were put in place; thus creating a new distinction between those University programs that did want to grant scholarships at some level but not at the highest level of the top schools. Moreover, these schools wanted to compete for the (or a) national championship, but were not generally regarded as strong enough to warrant that. (A good example of these distinctions is the Ivy League; which more or less originally started football and dominated it early on but didn't want to grant scholarships or spend the kind of money others were willing to do).

Prior to the 1978 season, at the behest of the strongest and largest programs, the changes you are asking about took place. The NCAA created Division 1-A, for the largest programs with the most scholarships, Division 1-AA for the schools that wanted to grant scholarships but not at the highest level, Division 2 for those with even lower scholarship amounts and Division 3, for those with no scholarships at all. The names were changed to FBS and FCS later. Having all "self-designated" several years prior, the 1978 change wasn't as transformational as it might seem - it merely reflected what was already in process; primarily based on scholarships, but also on resource disparities, recruiting of two platoons and specialists, media rights, the bowl system, fan support etc... The FCS and other non-FBS Division created their own playoff system at the time, which has largely stayed the same (albeit expanding)since.

That makes sense, especially if that had been slowly taking place organically in the previous decade(s). With that said... I feel a similar divide is starting to occur now between the P5 and much of the G5. Many programs (Idaho and UConn are two examples) are now struggling financially due to larger conference footprints (requiring more travel) compared to how regional conferences used to to be historically. I think as they start allowing schools to pay their players this divide is only going to accelerate. The P5 is able to afford it (relatively) thanks to higher ticket sales/attendance, as well as more donations to the athletic department and of course the exponentially larger TV contracts. The athletic programs income disparity between the P5 and G5 is becoming very large. Yes there are a handful of G5 programs making it on smaller budgets, but they are the few that may survive a future divide/split. I wonder if we might see entire conferences (maybe MAC, maybe Sun Belt or C-USA) drop back to the FCS level, like we saw in the 1980s. The WAC has already gone through this essentially by dropping their sponsorship of football entirely. There are probably 30-40 programs easily that would fit in much better moving back to FCS, but for whatever reason they continue to keep trying to survive at the FBS level.

In short, will we see another 1978 through the mid 1980s?
07-31-2019 03:51 PM
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Post: #9
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
I always refer to it as 1981 because the vote was in late 1981 but it in no way, shape, nor form was related to 1978's creation of I-A/I-AA.

1981 was NCAA crassness at its prime. The powers in Shawnee Mission wanted OU and UGA to drop the anti-trust lawsuit, they wanted the CFA to quit trying to do its own TV.

The solution they came up with was change the "or" in the I-A criteria between sport sponsorship and attendance criteria to an "and" to eliminate a bunch of schools.

The NCAA tried to sugar coat making the following promises. There would be more post-season opportunities, there would be a minimum amount of TV coverage, and there would be no changes that would interfere with schools continuing to play each other if they ended up on different sides of the split.

Horse manure all around.
In short order post-season was deregulated in I-A and every FBS league ended up having more post-season opportunities than any FCS.
The TV deal couldn't be delivered because the NCAA lost the lawsuits and the TV contract.
Before the decade ended the 6-5 bowl eligibility rule was adopted and initially no wins over I-AA would count then it was only one win every four years.

That final change broke the camels back and spurred a dash of schools rushing to I-A. In short order, Akron, LaTech, AState and Nevada were all in or back in I-A and it didn't help when schools regularly playing them said they would no longer play because the bowl eligibility rules.

The schools forced into I-AA got screwed 10 ways to Sunday as the NCAA didn't deliver on the promises and failed the primary missing on keeping the power school using the NCAA to negotiate the TV deal.
07-31-2019 03:53 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 03:51 PM)Once a Knight... Wrote:  In short, will we see another 1978 through the mid 1980s?

Absolutely not.

The schools learned a valuable lesson. Cincinnati and a number of MAC schools challenged the changes and got back in. The ones who accepted the changes got screwed when the NCAA didn't deliver on its promises.

Before the current FBS criteria was adopted the NCAA gave initial approval to changing the criteria to 17,000 butts in seats and if you ever fell below you were out. It took very little saber rattling and throwing the words anti-trust around for the presidents to veto the legislation.

When the FCS came back with a different less harsh package, simply raising the questions again resulted in the presidents amending it to the current rules.

The only schools not going down without a fight will be the ones who are broke and use it as cover to avoid "voluntarily" dropping. Otherwise there will be a fight and if no one blinks we are headed to court and the courts ain't never been kind towards the NCAA in anti-trust matters.
07-31-2019 04:00 PM
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Once a Knight... Offline
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Post: #11
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 03:53 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  I always refer to it as 1981 because the vote was in late 1981 but it in no way, shape, nor form was related to 1978's creation of I-A/I-AA.

1981 was NCAA crassness at its prime. The powers in Shawnee Mission wanted OU and UGA to drop the anti-trust lawsuit, they wanted the CFA to quit trying to do its own TV.

The solution they came up with was change the "or" in the I-A criteria between sport sponsorship and attendance criteria to an "and" to eliminate a bunch of schools.

The NCAA tried to sugar coat making the following promises. There would be more post-season opportunities, there would be a minimum amount of TV coverage, and there would be no changes that would interfere with schools continuing to play each other if they ended up on different sides of the split.

Horse manure all around.
In short order post-season was deregulated in I-A and every FBS league ended up having more post-season opportunities than any FCS.
The TV deal couldn't be delivered because the NCAA lost the lawsuits and the TV contract.
Before the decade ended the 6-5 bowl eligibility rule was adopted and initially no wins over I-AA would count then it was only one win every four years.

That final change broke the camels back and spurred a dash of schools rushing to I-A. In short order, Akron, LaTech, AState and Nevada were all in or back in I-A and it didn't help when schools regularly playing them said they would no longer play because the bowl eligibility rules.

The schools forced into I-AA got screwed 10 ways to Sunday as the NCAA didn't deliver on the promises and failed the primary missing on keeping the power school using the NCAA to negotiate the TV deal.

Well this sure changes the narrative a bit from what Jared7 said above. I had a feeling it was more like this. Who was the driving force at the time? The Power Conferences/large schools or was it the NCAA?
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2019 04:09 PM by Once a Knight....)
07-31-2019 04:08 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 04:08 PM)Once a Knight... Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 03:53 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  I always refer to it as 1981 because the vote was in late 1981 but it in no way, shape, nor form was related to 1978's creation of I-A/I-AA.

1981 was NCAA crassness at its prime. The powers in Shawnee Mission wanted OU and UGA to drop the anti-trust lawsuit, they wanted the CFA to quit trying to do its own TV.

The solution they came up with was change the "or" in the I-A criteria between sport sponsorship and attendance criteria to an "and" to eliminate a bunch of schools.

The NCAA tried to sugar coat making the following promises. There would be more post-season opportunities, there would be a minimum amount of TV coverage, and there would be no changes that would interfere with schools continuing to play each other if they ended up on different sides of the split.

Horse manure all around.
In short order post-season was deregulated in I-A and every FBS league ended up having more post-season opportunities than any FCS.
The TV deal couldn't be delivered because the NCAA lost the lawsuits and the TV contract.
Before the decade ended the 6-5 bowl eligibility rule was adopted and initially no wins over I-AA would count then it was only one win every four years.

That final change broke the camels back and spurred a dash of schools rushing to I-A. In short order, Akron, LaTech, AState and Nevada were all in or back in I-A and it didn't help when schools regularly playing them said they would no longer play because the bowl eligibility rules.

The schools forced into I-AA got screwed 10 ways to Sunday as the NCAA didn't deliver on the promises and failed the primary missing on keeping the power school using the NCAA to negotiate the TV deal.

Well this sure changes the narrative a bit from what Jared7 said above. I had a feeling it was more like this. Who was the driving force at the time? The Power Conferences/large schools or was it the NCAA?

I've never really understood this distinction. The power conferences/large schools ARE the NCAA.
07-31-2019 04:41 PM
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ken d Offline
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Post: #14
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 03:51 PM)Kit-Cat Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 02:29 PM)Jared7 Wrote:  What happened in 1978 was really part of a much longer process that had been developing/occurring for several decades following the formation of the IAAUS (which later changed its name to the NCAA) in 1906. This was in response to several deaths occurring prior to that - "football" at that time just consisted of any college having 11 tough guys who played both defense and offense all game long in what were, in effect, fighting scrums. At first, the NCAA was not national and conferences formed which served as umbrella organizations that governed football regionally and didn't necessarily involve all schools playing one another and determining a "champion." For example, in Texas, the TIAA was formed, which was the governing body and the SWC was also formed, which involved direct competition (and many schools belonged or said they adhered to both). Eventually, over several years, the NCAA achieved nation-wide primacy as the umbrella governing body and the regional conferences regulated direct competition.

There was no formal distinction but there was generally considered to be a "major college" level and a "small college" level, which was generally accepted although self-designated, but schools could move up and down between them depending on who they scheduled and how well they did. Gradually, conference membership also helped determine who was "major" and who was not. At first, there were no athletic scholarships, but over time, schools began awarding "grants-in-aid" which amounted to the same thing and there was at first no limit to this. At first, there was no real money other than tickets and concessions, but with the advent of radio in the 30's and then TV in the 50's this began to change. In the late 50's and early 60's, the larger schools also began "two-platoon" football and specialists where there were designated offense and defense and special team players. This became formal in 1965. Freshmen could never play, but this was changed in 1968 and they no longer were forced to take a freshman red-shirt year.

All these changes reflected a clear distinction between the larger and smaller programs - in 1968, schools were required to self-designate as either "University" or "College" programs. And in 1973, a third division was added for "University" programs that didn't play football. In 1975, the first scholarship limits were put in place; thus creating a new distinction between those University programs that did want to grant scholarships at some level but not at the highest level of the top schools. Moreover, these schools wanted to compete for the (or a) national championship, but were not generally regarded as strong enough to warrant that. (A good example of these distinctions is the Ivy League; which more or less originally started football and dominated it early on but didn't want to grant scholarships or spend the kind of money others were willing to do).

Prior to the 1978 season, at the behest of the strongest and largest programs, the changes you are asking about took place. The NCAA created Division 1-A, for the largest programs with the most scholarships, Division 1-AA for the schools that wanted to grant scholarships but not at the highest level, Division 2 for those with even lower scholarship amounts and Division 3, for those with no scholarships at all. The names were changed to FBS and FCS later. Having all "self-designated" several years prior, the 1978 change wasn't as transformational as it might seem - it merely reflected what was already in process; primarily based on scholarships, but also on resource disparities, recruiting of two platoons and specialists, media rights, the bowl system, fan support etc... The FCS and other non-FBS Division created their own playoff system at the time, which has largely stayed the same (albeit expanding)since.

For a lot of us on here the FBS/FCS split of 1978 seems like a relatively recent development in the storied history of the sport but it really was a different time than 2019 or even the 2010-2015 realignment era as to what the driving forces of change were.

Boatloads of money and the egos of university presidents are in play. Years ago there was honesty about what level a school belonged at.

I don't believe there was ever a time when university egos weren't in play. The differences between now and then are the boatloads of money.

There are about as many schools today that belong in the highest classification for football that there were then - probably fewer than 90 and closer to 70. But as long as the NCAA and the CFP continue to bribe the rest with some of those boatloads (albeit only rowboat loads) these debates will never end. College presidents want their schools to be seen as wearing big boy pants, and that will never change.
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2019 06:40 PM by ken d.)
07-31-2019 06:39 PM
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
Tennessee State is missing since they were an independent until 1982.
07-31-2019 06:42 PM
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Kit-Cat Offline
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RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
Don't you guys also think the requirement in place that to join FBS a school must have an invite from an FBS conference has shut the door on continued migration up?

There is the possibility of a waiver but there has to be a monster case for it to be made. Liberty was able to do it. NDSU could probably do it if it wanted. I don't think the votes are there for many more wavier cases.

I'm not sure if there is a better way to define FBS than what we have right now with the conference invite/scheduling requirement. To those who think the ranks should be pared down to 70-80 schools the bottom 50 or so have invested in facilities that puts them on a different level now than the average FCS program.

My guess is we'll see an expanded CFP instead because the traditional bowl system of big games played on New Year's weekend is starting to collapse with the 6 CFP bowls being all there is of importance. Expanding the CFP is one way to save those games while giving the G5 more fair access.
07-31-2019 07:09 PM
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Kit-Cat Offline
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Post: #17
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 06:39 PM)ken d Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 03:51 PM)Kit-Cat Wrote:  
(07-31-2019 02:29 PM)Jared7 Wrote:  What happened in 1978 was really part of a much longer process that had been developing/occurring for several decades following the formation of the IAAUS (which later changed its name to the NCAA) in 1906. This was in response to several deaths occurring prior to that - "football" at that time just consisted of any college having 11 tough guys who played both defense and offense all game long in what were, in effect, fighting scrums. At first, the NCAA was not national and conferences formed which served as umbrella organizations that governed football regionally and didn't necessarily involve all schools playing one another and determining a "champion." For example, in Texas, the TIAA was formed, which was the governing body and the SWC was also formed, which involved direct competition (and many schools belonged or said they adhered to both). Eventually, over several years, the NCAA achieved nation-wide primacy as the umbrella governing body and the regional conferences regulated direct competition.

There was no formal distinction but there was generally considered to be a "major college" level and a "small college" level, which was generally accepted although self-designated, but schools could move up and down between them depending on who they scheduled and how well they did. Gradually, conference membership also helped determine who was "major" and who was not. At first, there were no athletic scholarships, but over time, schools began awarding "grants-in-aid" which amounted to the same thing and there was at first no limit to this. At first, there was no real money other than tickets and concessions, but with the advent of radio in the 30's and then TV in the 50's this began to change. In the late 50's and early 60's, the larger schools also began "two-platoon" football and specialists where there were designated offense and defense and special team players. This became formal in 1965. Freshmen could never play, but this was changed in 1968 and they no longer were forced to take a freshman red-shirt year.

All these changes reflected a clear distinction between the larger and smaller programs - in 1968, schools were required to self-designate as either "University" or "College" programs. And in 1973, a third division was added for "University" programs that didn't play football. In 1975, the first scholarship limits were put in place; thus creating a new distinction between those University programs that did want to grant scholarships at some level but not at the highest level of the top schools. Moreover, these schools wanted to compete for the (or a) national championship, but were not generally regarded as strong enough to warrant that. (A good example of these distinctions is the Ivy League; which more or less originally started football and dominated it early on but didn't want to grant scholarships or spend the kind of money others were willing to do).

Prior to the 1978 season, at the behest of the strongest and largest programs, the changes you are asking about took place. The NCAA created Division 1-A, for the largest programs with the most scholarships, Division 1-AA for the schools that wanted to grant scholarships but not at the highest level, Division 2 for those with even lower scholarship amounts and Division 3, for those with no scholarships at all. The names were changed to FBS and FCS later. Having all "self-designated" several years prior, the 1978 change wasn't as transformational as it might seem - it merely reflected what was already in process; primarily based on scholarships, but also on resource disparities, recruiting of two platoons and specialists, media rights, the bowl system, fan support etc... The FCS and other non-FBS Division created their own playoff system at the time, which has largely stayed the same (albeit expanding)since.

For a lot of us on here the FBS/FCS split of 1978 seems like a relatively recent development in the storied history of the sport but it really was a different time than 2019 or even the 2010-2015 realignment era as to what the driving forces of change were.

Boatloads of money and the egos of university presidents are in play. Years ago there was honesty about what level a school belonged at.

I don't believe there was ever a time when university egos weren't in play. The differences between now and then are the boatloads of money.

There are about as many schools today that belong in the highest classification for football that there were then - probably fewer than 90 and closer to 70. But as long as the NCAA and the CFP continue to bribe the rest with some of those boatloads (albeit only rowboat loads) these debates will never end. College presidents want their schools to be seen as wearing big boy pants, and that will never change.

I said ego's because in the 70's it was possible to self select classification and a lot of presidents looked at those realities that you are mentioning and said "college division" for their school.

Today presidents would not volunteer a move down unless it was deemed absolutely necessary. Idaho's president eased into the Big Sky over getting shut out of the MWC. UConn dropped out of its FB conference to salvage its donor base.
07-31-2019 07:17 PM
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Post: #18
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 06:42 PM)DavidSt Wrote:  Tennessee State is missing since they were an independent until 1982.

No question.
07-31-2019 07:28 PM
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Post: #19
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 03:53 PM)arkstfan Wrote:  I always refer to it as 1981 because the vote was in late 1981 but it in no way, shape, nor form was related to 1978's creation of I-A/I-AA.

1981 was NCAA crassness at its prime. The powers in Shawnee Mission wanted OU and UGA to drop the anti-trust lawsuit, they wanted the CFA to quit trying to do its own TV.

The solution they came up with was change the "or" in the I-A criteria between sport sponsorship and attendance criteria to an "and" to eliminate a bunch of schools.

The NCAA tried to sugar coat making the following promises. There would be more post-season opportunities, there would be a minimum amount of TV coverage, and there would be no changes that would interfere with schools continuing to play each other if they ended up on different sides of the split.

Horse manure all around.
In short order post-season was deregulated in I-A and every FBS league ended up having more post-season opportunities than any FCS.
The TV deal couldn't be delivered because the NCAA lost the lawsuits and the TV contract.
Before the decade ended the 6-5 bowl eligibility rule was adopted and initially no wins over I-AA would count then it was only one win every four years.

That final change broke the camels back and spurred a dash of schools rushing to I-A. In short order, Akron, LaTech, AState and Nevada were all in or back in I-A and it didn't help when schools regularly playing them said they would no longer play because the bowl eligibility rules.

The schools forced into I-AA got screwed 10 ways to Sunday as the NCAA didn't deliver on the promises and failed the primary missing on keeping the power school using the NCAA to negotiate the TV deal.

Indeed. The story didn't stop in 1978. And what happened then really served as a trigger for all the changes that occurred thereafter. The key was the advent of ESPN in 1979, which meant that there was suddenly a lot more available slots for college football to be broadcast and TV was no longer merely an oligopoly between what CBS and ABC elected to show. And, of course, more money was now potentially available. Whereas most of the largest schools (and conferences) were more or less united in the years leading up to 1978, they very rapidly balkanized and began looking out for #1. Previously, the NCAA negotiated TV deals for all schools with the 2 main OTA networks, and there were strict limits on how often a team could be shown. Now, all the biggest and most successful schools wanted to be shown as often as possible and for as much money as possible. Initially, the CFA was formed to continue to negotiate with the NCAA the new TV possibilities, and it included the vast majority of 1-A schools, but not the Big 10 or the Pac 8 (which almost immediately became the Pac10). So, for a few years, one network (ABC) did the CFA schools and one (CBS) did the Big 10/Pac10. (or it might have been vice versa). The CFA tried to bring in the Big 10/Pac8 and form one super division - thereby eliminating many schools who had self-designated as 1A - but this failed. Then, as you mention, they tried to accomplish the same thing by manipulating the NCAA rules with attendance requirements etc... so as to eliminate potential competitors from the growing money pie. From the small school perspective, this was heinous, going against the very (and mutually agreed) idea of self-designation, and they fought back, eventually changing or re-interpreting those new rules. But from the perspective of the big money schools (who wanted even more money and TV coverage), it didn't go nearly far enough.

Which led to the OU/Georgia lawsuit. OU and Georgia were the litigants but virtually all of the big brand name schools also had a huge interest in its resolution. The USSC determined that the NCAA could not limit broadcast rights (so-called "retained rights" of which we still talk about) which rightfully belonged to the individual schools, nor could it negotiate entire contracts for all of Division 1-A if the schools didn't want them to. It was this decision which led to the free-for-all with which we still live. Most schools pooled their retained rights into their conferences, which set off relatively constant conference realignment talk and moves and speculation - independents were gradually squeezed out and joined conferences (Miami and Florida State and Penn State being the primary examples). The FCS schools learned that the networks weren't all that interested in paying them money and showing their games and the NCAA was now rendered powerless to make even their measly promises become even close to being fulfilled.

Most everyone here can fill in the rest of the story - especially as it related to their particular school. A school can still self-designate, but making it into the big time after being first left out or relegated out of the power conferences is VERY difficult. The point being that the 1978 changes - with their principle of self-designation - survived but really wasn't the pivotal moment or the transformational development. Instead, it was the creation of ESPN and the OU/Georgia USSC decision which occurred only a few years thereafter. Would the '78 changes have occurred if everyone could have foreseen cable TV, the USSC's opinion and the massive amounts of new available money? Who knows?
(This post was last modified: 07-31-2019 11:37 PM by Jared7.)
07-31-2019 11:28 PM
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Bobcat2013 Offline
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Post: #20
RE: What happened during the Div 1-A / 1-AA (FBS/FCS) split in 1978?
(07-31-2019 04:29 PM)2Buck Wrote:  [Image: giphy.gif]

Lmao, that is hilarious! As much as I want FBS to be closed at a neat 130, yall need to move up!
08-01-2019 09:15 AM
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