Report: Conference title game deregulation expected by 2016

Conference championship game deregulation is expected to pass by 2016, opening the door for the Big 12 to potentially add a league title game, according to a CBSSports.com report.

Under current NCAA rules, leagues must have 12 teams and two divisions to hold a championship game. But deregulation would allow conferences to run their league title games no matter how many teams they have. The Big 12, at 10 teams, would consider adding a title game, commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN.com's Heather Dinich.

"We'll talk about that when the time comes," Bowlsby said. "There's certainly some possibility. We're going through a period of deregulation and it seems like this is one of those things that ought to reside with the conferences. I don't know why there's any reason why anybody other than the conference should decide how they come up with their champion."

The ACC began the push for championship game deregulation several years ago, though the league has maintained the reason is not to change its own format but to have the flexibility to do so.

Though Bowlsby told CBSSports.com that "there's some belief the ACC would play three divisions, have two highest ranked play in postseason," ACC commissioner John Swofford said as recently as last month that was not even on the table.

Three other ACC sources said there have been no recent discussions about moving to three divisions.

"We haven't really discussed that to any degree of seriousness," Swofford told Dinich last month. "A few years ago, it came up briefly but didn't get legs in our discussions. I think that's unlikely in our league."

More recently, ACC athletic directors have discussed eliminating divisions as one possibility but that has not gained traction, either. For now, the ACC has no plans to change its championship game format.

But that might not be the case in the Big 12. The NCAA Football Oversight Committee must first listen to proposed legislation and forward recommendations to the NCAA Council for approval.

The College Football Playoff could spur the Big 12 into action. The only league without a conference championship game, its co-champions -- TCU and Baylor -- were left out of the playoff in favor of Ohio State, which won the Big Ten championship game.

As for whether deregulation will happen by 2016, Bowlsby told ESPN.com: "I don't see that there's any reason it can't be considered by then. Whether the votes will be there to change it is anybody's guess, but I think it can go through the process by then and I think it has a chance to be implemented by then."

ESPN.com reporter Heather Dinich contributed to this report.