GRAPEVINE, Tex., Jan. 9 -- Against the wishes of several influential coaches, college football moved a step closer to playing a 12th regular season game when a proposal to add an extra game in Division I-A and I-AA was approved by the NCAA Management Council at the association's annual convention Sunday. The proposal faces another hurdle in April, when it will be voted on by the NCAA Executive Committee. If approved then, it would take effect in 2006.
College teams play 12 games now only when the regular season contains 14 Saturdays, which doesn't happen again until 2008. The Big 12 Conference is advocating a 12th game every season as a means of generating more money. But the American Football Coaches Association opposes the extra game, arguing that it would exact a toll both physically and academically.
Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said last week that he'd favor a 12th regular season game if his conference would forgo the Big 12 championship, which already represents an additional game for those who qualify.
Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said he'd favor it if the NCAA increased the number of football scholarships from 85 to 88 or 89. "I can understand what it's for -- it's for money," Tuberville said. "We're the cash cow. But we need to have a little back if we're going to do that."
Basketball coaches also scored an early-round victory Sunday through their efforts to loosen NCAA-mandated restrictions on the time they can spend observing recruits and working with players.
But the coaches face an uphill battle winning final approval in April, warned David Berst, the NCAA vice president for Division I, because of skepticism that they would use that extra time for teaching and mentoring, as they claim, rather than intensive, pressurized coaching drills.
"There is a trust gap," Berst said.