UCLA head coach Chip Kelly is offering an interesting solution to the issues arising from conference realignment. The Bruins leader says that football should split from other sports.
His idea has sparked quite a reaction on social media as followers give their thoughts on the suggestion.
Kelly, of course, is at the center of the realignment issues as his UCLA program will soon leave the PAC-12. That move, which coincided with USC’s decision to do the same, has led to a mass exodus from the conference.
Following the Bruins and Trojans’ decisions to depart, six other PAC members followed suit. Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah will soon he off to the Big XII while Oregon and Washington will join USC and UCLA in the B1G.
Only Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State remain, though their futures are uncertain. Other leagues are still lurking as they eye continued expansion.
While the movement will provide a more lucrative outlook for these major football programs, it could come at the cost of non-revenue sport athletes’ well-being.
A number of coaches and players have been critical of the realignment.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) August 8, 2023
Travel expenses, rest, and scheduling are some of the most notable issues as we’ll now see a team like UCLA playing on the East Coast next season. While that might be alright for football, who plays one game a week typically on a Saturday, other sports don’t have that luxury.
Missouri’s Eli Drinkwitz was one of the loudest critics, as he asked whether administrators thought about the athletes in the decisions, or if it was all about the money.
“We’re talking about a football decision they based off football,” the coach said in a recent presser. “But what about softball and baseball who have to travel cross country? Did we ask about the cost to them?”
Chip Kelly offers interesting solution to conference realignment.
Kelly suggests that football could split away from the rest of college sports to form two leagues. There would be 60+ team league consisting of Power Five programs and another 60+ team league from the G5, but no conference affiliations.
“Notre Dame is an independent in football, but they’re in a conference for everything else,” Kelly said. “Why aren’t we all independent for football? Take the 64 teams in Power Five and make that one division. Take the 64 teams in Group of Five, make that another division.
“We play for a championship, they play for a championship and no one else gets affected. Our sport is different than everybody else – we only play once a week. Travel’s not a big deal for football, but it is a big deal for other sports.”
He does have a point, and many on social media tended to agree.
Makes too much sense. https://t.co/N7G5lFMZ8l
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 9, 2023
Independence is the way. https://t.co/3ddmOr7Dlj
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) August 9, 2023
Chip Kelly, if you listen to what he says, has becoming a surprisingly rational voice on the present of college sports.
Has had a lot of smart things to say about NIL, realignment, etc in the last year or so. https://t.co/atOUEvzsiu
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) August 9, 2023
Chip Kelly’s realignment scenario would (1) reduce the impact on non-revenue sports, and (2) potentially make future schedules incredible for the fans.
Without conference ties, schools could theoretically have the flexibility to schedule the teams they prefer whether that be due to geography, a traditional rivalry, or to create excitement for a never-before-seen matchup.
Chip Kelly might be onto something. Unfortunately, we won’t find out this year.