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George O'Leary on power five conferences forming own division: 'They sound like the South during the Civil War'

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Baylor vs Central Florida
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Jan 1, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Central Florida Knights head coach George O'Leary (left) and quarterback Blake Bortles celebrate after defeating the Baylor Bears during the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Central Florida defeated Baylor 52-42. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said last week that if reforms for the “power five” conferences aren’t passed by the NCAA board of directors in August, then the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC would form their own division – Division IV.

Central Florida head coach George O’Leary had quite an interesting response to Slive’s statements.

“They sound like the South during the Civil War,” O’Leary said, per the Orlando Sentinel. “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.”

Now, the Civil War and college football obviously aren’t in the same realm of discussion, but O’Leary’s point is that a move like that would be extremely detrimental to college football as a whole.

The 67-year-old O’Leary has been around the block a few times. He coached at Syracuse in the 80’s and was the head man at Georgia Tech from 1994-2001, so he has experience at the “power five” level. He has worked for a decade to build Central Florida’s program up to compete at the highest level, and last year’s Fiesta Bowl win proved that it can be done.

If the power five conferences were to leave, it would certainly set programs comparable to UCF back.

“The thing that’s disturbing is that college football has been fighting for years to create a level playing field and now they’re trying to go the other way and create an even wider gap between the haves and have-nots,” O’Leary said. “I think some of these schools have forgotten where they came from.”

The proposed reforms would give the five power conference the “autonomy to make rules on specific matters affecting the interests of student-athletes.” Those matters include financial aid, insurance, academic support, and other expenses associated with practice and competition.

The Division I Board of Directors endorsed the proposed reforms in April.

For more UCF news, visit UCFSports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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