Follow-up thoughts on autonomy and UNT

News came down yesterday that the top five leagues in college football have been granted autonomy.

I added Dan McCarney’s thoughts to the Associated Press story we ran in today’s paper.

In case you missed it, here is what he had to say:

“We are going to do everything we can in Conference USA to be a role model, blaze trails and be the beacon of light for everyone else that is not in one of those conferences. This is how you do it and do it with a little less. We want to still have bowls and great destinations and great expectations and improve attendance. Why can’t we be the example for the rest of the country?”

It’s the right approach for programs like UNT.

As far as my thoughts go, I just see the move as one more step that will help further differentiate the teams in the top five conferences in college football and everyone else.

Talk has now turned to exclusive scheduling.

I doubt that proposal goes through, but it’s just another indication of the direction college football is headed.

A couple of years ago, former Ohio State president Gordon Gee referenced teams outside of the Power Five as “the little sisters of the poor.”

The bottom line is that teams that schools at the top levels of college football are not fond of the idea of sharing what they have in terms of revenue or much of anything else with teams farther down the college football ladder.

It hasn’t helped matters that the ranks of programs that are taking a slice of the pie at the FBS level has grown over the years. UTSA came out of nowhere. Georgia Southern and Appalachian State join the Sun Belt this year.

Pat Forde encapsulated the thoughts of many out there a couple of years ago. The basic idea — there are too many teams competing on the top level of college football.

The bottom line is that the schools in the top five leagues in the land are working to differentiate themselves from the rest of the college football world, and they are going to succeed. Those schools have the money. And with the money comes the power.

The good news for UNT is that it has made all the right moves to put itself in position to do well once the top conferences in college football move off in some degree to their own little world.

UNT has a terrific venue in Apogee Stadium and a great coaching staff led by McCarney. The school’s program is clearly headed in the right direction in a conference that is a good fit for school in Conference USA.

McCarney said the league can be one that sets the standard for teams outside of the Power Five.

Being a top team in a league that sets the standard outside of the top five leagues wouldn’t be an entirely bad short-term outcome for UNT.

Right now the difference between the top five leagues and the next five isn’t big enough to pose that big of a problem for UNT in terms of its short-term goals.

That could change if the top leagues start awarding 100 scholarships and hording players, but that isn’t the case at this point.

Teams in the top five conferences will sell their status to recruits. UNT will have to overcome that if it hopes to compete for those players, but that isn’t a huge change from way the landscape of the last few years.

The autonomy vote wasn’t good news for UNT and other teams in similar circumstances, but it wasn’t the end of the word either.

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