Football schools aren't power mad, bad guys or Nazis just because they have large budgets.

Paul Dietzel, Indiana athletic director

The way we can save money in inter-collegiate athletics is not by denying two or three scholarships to wrestling, but by dealing with the football powers.

Stephen Horn, Long Beach State, president

More than ever, the NCAA is deeply divided and headed toward a crisis that could result in its destrution. And no one seems to know how to patch the cracks before they get too wide.

Now NCAA executive directors Walter Byers, who once laughed off talk of his organization splitting apart, is speaking of "convulsions" and"disruptions" within the group he has served for the last 25 years.

That is how serious and open the wounds in the NCAA have become. Byers is presiding over an organization that has football powers warring with college presidents and small colleges everyone. There is resentment and pessimism in all quarters and not even Byers has a way to put things at ease.

To the average sports fan, who is befuddled by talk about reorganization and terms like "need," and "1.6" and "equivalencies" and all the rest of the special language that has over-whelmed the NCAA, such squabbling may not seem important.

But it is, because a schism within the NCAA could affect not only Alumni U., but also what you watch on those Saturday afternoon football telecasts and at those March NCAA basketball finals.

If anything, the number and variety of games televised in both sports could be inscreased. The reason: there is a splits even within the major football power over the correct way to gain more autonomy.

Schools like Michigan, Stanford, UCLA and Southern California, which are not convinced that the NCAA is the enemy, could avoid joining the Oklahomas, Alabamas, Arizona States and others in a walkout. The result could be two networks telecasting separate Saturday afternoon football games sponsored by different college athletic organizations.

And if the Big Eight, Southeastern, Southwest and other conferences leave, they will leave with all their sports teams, not just football. So the NCAA basketball tournament would be deprived of many powerful squads as well.

Many NCAA observes are convinced that the football schools would pull out immediately if they could convince the Big 10 and Pacific 10 schools to join them. But those leagues so far have refused to join the fledgling College Football Association (CFA), a lobbying group that easily could become a new NCAA.

As long as the Big 10 and the Pacific 10 balk, there is time for cooler heads to work out a solution to the NCAA's organizational problems. But not for long.

College presidents who attended the just-conculded NCAA convention in Miami Beach are confident that next year they will be able to win approval to have athletic aid based only on family need. If need legislation is passed, the football schools seem certain to bolt, with or without the Pacific and Big 10s.

Except for a few militants, the superpowers want to remain within the NCAA. Toward that end, they will meet this summer to come up eith a plan which would let them reorganize into a separate division while not alienating the rest of the membership.

Byers agrees. He says the financial pressures created by the advent of Title 9, women's sports and inflation have placed an extraordinary burden on the football powers. He feels the only way they can deal with these money problems is to be able decide on common legislation without interference from smaller universities.

As it stands now, all Division I football proposals at NCAA conventions are voted on, for example, by Michigan, with its athletic budget inexcess of $5 million, and the Ivy League schools, which don't even award athletic scholarships.

Another troublesome area deals with the NCAA football television contract, which currently calls for some of its $18 million total to be distributed to Division II and III schools. A few football powers feel that future, and probably more lucrative. contracts should not be as generous to the smaller colleges, a position they believe will be strengthened by reorganization.

"TV is the guts issue," said Long Beach's Horn, the leading NCAA gadfly in the eyes of the football people. "The football powers don't want to let anyone else share in the wealth. They don't want guarantees anymore for the smaller schools."

Horn is one of the few college presidents who taken the time to understand the complex politics of the NCAA.About 100 of his colleagues, an all-time record, attended the convention and it was painfully apparent that many brought more idealism than common sense to the gathering.

Those presidents say they also will meet this summer to map out future convention strategy. In essence, they will become a lobbying body just like the football powers, which should add to the polarization within the NCAA.

Until everyone works out tactics, the NCAA is left resembling a gigantic water wheel, going round and round, making large splashes, but going nowhere.

"We've been faced by major problems before and survived," said Byers. "I am confident we can solve this one, too, and emerge even stronger than we are now."

Otherwise, he may be looking for a new job.