Could SEC and Tennessee Leave the NCAA For Good?

Tennessee is coming off a successful court battle against the NCAA that could be the breaking point for some universities to leave the NCAA. 
Chattanooga v Tennessee
Chattanooga v Tennessee / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Big Ten and Southeastern Conference are in the driver's seat when it comes to molding the future of college football. Tennessee has been at the forefront of recent anguish with the NCAA, which has led the Big Ten and SEC to look closer at the governing body's control over college athletics.

ESPN's Pete Thamel has reported that the two power conferences have considered separating themselves from the NCAA. This comes from recent complaints against the governing body and the newly proposed 14-team playoff.

"‘Those conversations are happening,’ the source said, adding some feel ‘pretty strongly about pulling away. I'd say very strongly.’"

Pete Thamel

The Big Ten and SEC want automatic bids into the expanded playoffs while leaving out other conferences like the ACC and Big 12. Thamel reports the current proposed format gives the SEC and Big Ten three automatic qualifiers each.

Conversations imply that the SEC and Big Ten want additional automatic bids into the playoff, which makes sense with both conferences having a majority of the best teams in the country. While I don't like automatic bids for the College Football Playoff, the SEC and Big Ten are going to do what's best for them, which means more automatic bids.

While ESPN and the NCAA stand across from the SEC and Big Ten, they will do what is best for their pocketbooks. As a result, the Big Ten and SEC will twist the NCAA's arm and demand more bids for themselves because they are more prominent and prestigious. If they don't get their way, they threaten to split from the NCAA and create their own playoff.

This means we could see two champions if the NCAA doesn't dissolve with the exit of these two power conferences. This could also create a natural division among college football programs, similar to the current FBS/FCS format. There would be a version of high FBS, low FBS, and FCS divisions.

With the first year of the 12-team playoff scheduled for the 2024 season, we will have to wait and see who's in, who's out, and which conferences feel like they are being treated unfairly by the College Football Playoff committee.