College football leaders gathered in San Francisco to begin discussing the BCS and potential changes to a system that grants automatic qualifying status to some conferences and not others.
That coveted AQ status has been a big deal when it comes to conference realignment. More specifically, it has been a big deal for the Big East, which is in desperate need of new members. The question is whether the Big East will retain AQ status when this current BCS cycle ends after the 2013 season.
"I don't think any of us are happy that the BCS is one of the contributing factors to conference realignment," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday, according to the AP. "It's certainly not the only [factor], by any means. The BCS was never intended to be a divisive event. To the extent that the BCS can be a part of lending stability to the conferences, I think that's what everybody would like to see."
It has become divisive, if only because non-AQs are eyeing a spot at the table in an AQ conference. The difference in being a part of an AQ conference is millions of dollars and access to games they only have access to if they meet certain criteria. The Big East is considering an East and West Division in order to bring in Boise State and Houston, teams that would help in its quest to retain AQ status.
But Hancock said "everything under the sun" is open for consideration, including eliminating AQ status altogether. Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told CBSSports.com last week there was growing support toward eliminating AQ status.