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Thursday, June 5, 2014
UCF coach: Sport 'in real trouble'

ESPN.com news services

At least one college football coach isn't happy about the SEC threatening to take their ball and leave if the Power Five conferences aren't granted autonomy by the NCAA.

Central Florida coach George O'Leary, in fact, put a historical spin on SEC commissioner Mike Slive's threat of forming a "Division IV" if the league -- along with the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and the Pac-12 -- don't get the flexibility needed to create their own bylaws.

O'LearyThey're trying to go the other way and create an even wider gap between the haves and have-nots. I think some of these schools have forgotten where they came from.

-- George O'Leary, UCF coach

"They sound like the South during the Civil War," O'Leary told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this week. "If they don't get their way, they're going to secede and start their own country. ... I think college football is in real trouble."

Smaller Division I schools likely can't afford the changes that the SEC and the major conferences are seeking. And while Division II and Division III have their own rules, forming a Division IV would seemingly create a wider divide between the Power Five and other smaller schools.

"They're trying to go the other way and create an even wider gap between the haves and have-nots," O'Leary told the Sentinel of the Power Five and the SEC's threats. "I think some of these schools have forgotten where they came from."

The SEC wants the NCAA steering committee to adopt its proposal for the voting threshold, which would allow the Power Five to pass legislation with more ease.

The NCAA board of directors will vote on the steering committee's proposal in August, and it would need a two-thirds vote of the 65 schools and 15 student representatives to pass.

O'Leary, who previously coached eight seasons at Georgia Tech, has a 72-56 record -- including a 12-1 mark and a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2013 -- since joining UCF in 2005. The Knights have played in three conferences during that span, bouncing from the Mid-American Conference to Conference USA in 2005 and to the American Athletic Conference last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.