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Brand might favor fifth year eligibility if redshirting were eliminated

6/2/2007 - College Football

OKLAHOMA CITY -- NCAA president Myles Brand said he isn't
necessarily opposed to a recent proposal by the NCAA football
issues committee that would extend player eligibility in the sport
to five years.

Brand, speaking Friday at the Women's College World Series, even
said the idea "might be favorable" if it included the elimination
of the practice of redshirting.

Brand said that 80 percent of Division I football players are
being redshirted and that it takes the average student about 4.7
years to graduate from college.

"I think if we do it right, to make sure student-athletes
actually have educational activities throughout their five years,
which approximates the actual practice, and we do away with medical
redshirting [and] actual redshirting, I don't see anything wrong
with that," Brand said.

The NCAA football issues committee, led by Nebraska athletic
director Steve Pederson, has requested that the proposal be
discussed at the spring meetings of Division I football-playing
conferences. Even if the idea gains support, it would have to go
through several NCAA committees before a membership vote.

During a wide-ranging news conference, Brand also said that he
doesn't sense support among universities for a college football
playing system and that the Academic Progress Report system -- which
measures eligibility and retention of student-athletes and mandates
penalties for schools not meeting certain requirements -- "is not
going anywhere."

Brand said much of the support for a football playoff came from
the media, and not necessarily the universities or their fans.

"The reason for that is, in Division I-A football, the most
important events are the regular-season Saturday games," Brand
said. "... The fact of the matter is it's those Saturdays that the
institutions look forward to, and a great many in their fan base do
[as well].

"If you ask me why don't we really have a playoff at this
point, I think the real answer is there is concern about putting at
risk the regular season, the Saturday afternoons, the traditional
rivalries. Can you figure out a way to get both? I think that will
be the question that is asked. Right now, as far as I can tell,
unless something changes, we're going to stay where we are."

Florida president Bernie Machen had developed a playoff plan,
but said earlier Friday that he was backing off after talking about
the issue with others who attended the Southeastern Conference's
spring meeting in Destin, Fla. Machen said it would be better to
work within the confines of the Bowl Championship Series system.

Brand said he isn't surprised there is debate about having a
playoff.

"Over the next year or two, we're going to see some
conversation," he said. "Where that will lead is not clear. Where
is the NCAA's role in it? The NCAA's role in it is to be supportive
of the schools and the conferences for whatever it is they decide
to do."