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MAC Commissioner covers many topics in visit

DeKALB – Mid-American Conference commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher was in DeKalb to meet with officials from Northern Illinois University on Tuesday.

The Daily Chronicle caught up with Steinbrecher on Tuesday afternoon to talk about a variety of issues facing NIU, the MAC and non-automatic qualifying schools in football.

• On what he talked about with NIU officials...

"There were no concerns per se. It gave me a chance to share what's occurred in the past couple of months, what I view as the major activities that will take place over the course of the year and some of my expectations of them and what they can expect from the conference office as well."

• On his relationship with NIU President, Dr. John Peters...

"He's been a wonderful asset for me in the brief time I've been on board. I got to know him through the interview process. He's on my executive committee. He's our representative to the NCAA Board of Directors. He's on the BCS Presidential Advisory Committee. So he and I spend a lot of time talking about issues and so on. He's been here awhile. He's got the lay of the land. So he's been very helpful and helping to acclimate me to the conference.

"I think nationally as we look at things, the BCS continues to be an issue. How that continues to evolve. Can we continue to push for greater access, greater revenue sharing, those type of things, greater access within the governance or participation within the governance process, all of those things. And the BCS has evolved over it's 12 years and we hope that evolution speeds up a little."

• On whether access in the governance process is a big roadblock to non-AQ schools...

"Well, it's where decisions get made. In our case, the AQ conferences and Notre Dame each have a vote, the five coalition conferences, we share one vote. And right now, Dr. Peters is our rep for the five conferences. So we only have one voice in the room at a time. Being at the table is important.

• On how you get more non-AQ voices in the room...

"You just keep beating the drum. And you keep pushing and pushing and you hope one day that the message resonates.

• On why that message hasn't resonated to this point...

"Because people don't usually give up things that they have. It's just human nature and I understand that. We've allowed postseason football to evolve in this thing in which core conferences that really control the marketplace relative to TV, contractual relationships with bowls to dictate the system. They would call it a market-driven animal. I'm not sure we're permitted into the marketplace. And at the end of the day, if what we're about is athletics and competition, then some of those issues ought to be decided on the field."

• On if a bigger wallet means more access...

"I don't know the answer to that question. But there is no doubt that resources provide you the opportunity to do certain things and there is a relationship. Is it a direct, causal relationship? Probably not. But there's a strong relationship there. It's one of those things that if you're in your stats class, your professor says 'Well, causation isn't correlation.' But there's an awful strong relationship.

• On if there's an exploratory process of the MAC pursuing its own TV network...

"At this stage, no. Does that mean that wouldn't change down the line? Perhaps. I think we really see right now, we have, really the Big 10 has gone out and developed their own network and they did that because they had a partnership with FOX that was phenomenal. And in their case it works because if you look at the Big 10 alumni base, they truly have a national footprint. I'm not sure it works for a lot of other conferences. Now, we'll see. I'm curious to watch what the ACC and the Big 12 in particular do. The SEC certainly used it as a leverage point and as a result of not starting their own network they're being paid a particular sum by their TV partners.

"But there are things we can pursue. For instance, the web-streaming, which is in essence, your own network. That is an avenue that we need to continue to exploit."

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