The NCAA’s setting new limits on the number of bowl ties each conference can have

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced that it would be using a four-year average of historical bowl eligibility data to determine how many bowl ties FBS conferences can have. The new tie-ins will start in two years with the 2020-21 season until the 2025-26 seasons. Here’s more from the NCAA’s official release:

“We struck that balance, and we wanted to strengthen the bowls,” said Bob Bowlsby, committee chair and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. “We want to have better reporting to make sure bowl games are financially sound, and they are appropriately represented in terms of having them meet NCAA requirements, so they remain strong entities and serve the collegiate community.”

The new process requires autonomy five conferences to allocate one of their allowable commitments to account for participation in the College Football Playoff agreement.

In order for a postseason football bowl game to be considered for NCAA certification, it will be required to have a historically supported commitment from two conferences and/or independent institutions.

Here’s the new conference ties, which will start in 2020:

  • AAC: 7
  • ACC: 11
  • Big 12: 7
  • Big Ten: 9
  • C-USA: 7
  • MAC: 6
  • Mountain West: 6
  • Pac-12: 8
  • SEC: 11
  • Sun Belt: 5
  • Independents: 0
  • Army West Point: 1
  • BYU: 1

When looking at last year’s bowl tie-ins, the numbers don’t really reflect a significant trend, but there are some noticeable differences. Mid-major conferences benefitted — the C-USA and Mountain West got one more, the MAC got two more, while the Sun Belt and AAC stayed the same. As for the power conferences, the Pac-12 got a couple more, and the SEC and Big 12 got one more. In total, the new number of teams is 79, which would mean one additional team would make for a complete bowl schedule (40 games).

While this makes the bowl schedule a little bit different in a couple years, using bowl eligibility as a precedent for conferences to have them is a pretty logical and reasonable move by the NCAA.

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