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NCAA changes rule so the Big 12 can hold football championship game

The Big 12 Conference will be allowed to hold a football championship game in the future if it wants to under a rule change approved Wednesday at the NCAA convention.

The change scraps the requirement that leagues have 12 members and play in two divisions in order to hold a title game. The new rule lets a smaller league play a title game pitting its top two teams, provided it plays a round-robin regular-season schedule as the Big 12 does now.

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The 10-member Big 12 is the only major conference that doesn't play a football title game. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he doesn't know if the change will guarantee the league plays one, but it was determined to have the right to do so.

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Clemson's highly regarded defense took several big hits with cornerback Mackensie Alexander, safeties Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green and defensive end Kevin Dodd declaring for the NFL draft. The four starters join All-American defensive end Shaq Lawson in forgoing the remainder of their college eligibility for the pros.

Villanova Coach Andy Talley will retire following the 2016 season and will be replaced by longtime assistant Mark Ferrante. The winningest coach in Villanova history, Talley is 221-133-1 and led the Wildcats to the 2009 FCS national championship.

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