A 4th division for the NCAA?

Last night NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke at the Marquette University Law School. Since pay-for-play is the hot topic, just check any basketball blog on the interwebs if you want to read the same two quotes Emmert used to address the issue. Or, you can watch the entire talk here.

Personally, I don't care what Emmert has to say about athletes sharing in the billions being generated by college athletics. It's like being interested in what the CEO of McDonalds has to say about factory beef production. It's Emmert's job to pretend that the NCAA has integrity. It's his job to toe the party line.

But pay-for-play generates hits, which are the currency of websites. So 57 minutes of his 59 minute talk will be ignored.

Which is unfortunate, because the talk had a lot of sub-plots which are of interest.

Emmert framed the breadth of Division I institutions by pointing out that head coaches at the rich schools make more than the entire athletic department budget at small schools. Yet the two extremes compete against one another.

It's no surprise that UNLV was the last non-power conference program to win the national title in hoops, which was 23 years ago. And UNLV can hardly be lumped into the "poor school" end of the spectrum. UNLV has more money than a lot of power programs. Before UNLV it was UTEP in 1966.

The response to this disparity in wealth could potentially be a 4th NCAA division. All D1 schools have a Faculty Athletic Rep, and these reps "just publicly said last week that yeah, we think their needs to be a 4th division."

Who knows if anything will come of this, or if it does, how it will shake out. Will it be football-only, with the BCS schools breaking from the rest? Or will it involve hoops as well? Will the UC-Irvine's and Sacramento State's of the world compete in a separate division than UCLA or Oregon?

Who knows? But it's worth following.

Now, back to whether athletes should be paid….