The structure of Division I college basketball changed even more yesterday with the official creation of the Great Midwest.
The NCAA's 34th conference is for basketball only and includes De Paul, Alabama-Birmingham, Cincinnati, Marquette, Memphis State and St. Louis. Play will begin a year from now.
Cincinnati and Memphis State were in the Metro Conference, which already had lost Florida State and South Carolina. Marquette and St. Louis leave the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, Alabama-Birmingham the Sun Belt.
"Our 92-year search for a conference is over," De Paul Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw said. "Any time you take that long to do something, you are obviously very particular. This conference offers all we are looking for philosophically, academically and athletically."
The offices of the Great Midwest will be in Chicago, but little else is definite. . . .
A proposal by University of Miami Athletic Director Sam Jankovich would have delayed bowl commitments by the Hurricanes and Notre Dame until after the regular season.
He spent most of last weekend on the phone scrambling unsuccessfully to produce a "national championship package" with the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Miami, Notre Dame and the CBS and NBC networks.
Under the arrangement, the team ranked higher at the end of the season would've played second-ranked Colorado in the $4.2 million Orange Bowl, televised by NBC. The other team would have gone to the $3.2 million Cotton Bowl, televised by CBS.
Everyone basically agreed, except for top-ranked Notre Dame, which saw no advantage in waiting until after its last two games. Sunday it agreed to accept an Orange Bowl invitation, and third-ranked Miami had to settle for the Cotton Bowl.
"If I were Notre Dame, I definitely would have agreed to the package," Jankovich said. "You don't want to be apologetic about your team. You have to earn a chance to play in a title game. If I'm in the same situation two or three years from now, I'll practice what I preach."
John Heisler, spokesman for Notre Dame's athletic department, said he understands "what Sam is saying. But his problem is with the system, not Notre Dame. . . .
Although fired, Dick Crum will coach Kent State's finale Saturday.