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“COLLEGE FOOTBALL–FIX IT”
College Football is coming thru an electric-exciting football season.
College Football is in chaos.
The incoming President of the NCAA-Charley Baker inherited a mess, that has gotten even worse during his first year on the job.
College football is all about money.
How much the schools make in TV contracts.
What the players are getting in NIL payoffs
What the Transfer Portal has become
The dissolution of the APR-academic rankings
The end of the Pac 12-Conference
The latest siege of schools changing conferences
The raging playoff selection controversy and the expansion to 12-in-2024
A new era is coming but this will be complex, how to reign in control of the sport. How to solve the growing disparity between the big money schools and the rest of the schools in their conference. The greater divide between the Power 5 Conferences and the Group of 5-schools. Rich man-vs-poor man.
My lasting memory of Mark Emmett-who retired last year, is the mess he left behind, his shoddy leadership, his lack of vision. The NCAA, once a power dictatorship, has become a Banana Republic operation.
And now Charley Baker comes in from Boston, with a mandate to do what Emmett did not do, regain control of the NCAA, and give some structure to football.
Yes it is a money game, so much to the point, it has wrecked the specialness of what college football-basketball, its history, and its rivalries used to be.
The players’ rights issue took over the sport. The transfer portal has wrecked the structure of programs, team’s coaches have to re-recuit their own talent year by year. Teams are stealing other team’s players. It’s now about NIL money if you leave one school for another. Families are calling schools offering their sons for a dollar deal.
Baker sent out a proposal to all NCAA programs, proposing the formation of a ‘Champions League’, taking the top teams from each of the remaining Power 5-conferences and putting them into their super league.
The plan would have the Super League operate as an independent entity. They would determine how to control the NIL money. They would have their own set of rules on the transfer portal. They would determine what their roster limits look like. And they would configure Academic aid and health care for players during their careers and post-careers.
But there is a price that comes with a move. Each school must guarantee an NIL pot that could allow each athlete at their school, men and women, would get up to 30,000 a year in benefits. Big Cigar boosters, send your check now.
Who runs the Super conference? Who polices all they will offer? What happens to the conferences left behind? What kind of TV money will be left on the table for the conferences and teams not part of the Champions League?
It’s quite a roadmap that must be navigated.
The thumbnail sketch looks like this:
Ohio State-Michigan-USC-Oregon-Washington go to the Super Conference. Who else in the Big 10-can put together that type of package to join the league?
What if you are a have not like Vanderbilt or Rutgers, what kind of revenue do you raise from your games, when the SEC or Big 10 name teams are no longer on your schedule?
Does a debt ridden UCLA have the ability to raise the money to put into the pot to come join this mega league?
Is the government going to help supervise this league? Gee the post office works really well doesn’t it?
And then there is the TV network world, which is writing checks of 30-to-50M a year to all these conference schools. What are those network conference TV deals like for the conferences that won’t have Texas-Oklahoma as members?
Will all the big money go only to the Champions League schools? The paydays will be over for the conference members who are not good enough to raise money to join this league. Suddenly the have nots get pennies on the dollar compared to what schools everywhere are getting today.
The Baker Paper proposal does not reference what happens to the schools in Division 1AA..II or Division III, who have their own set of financial problems. Think how tough life is in these smaller conferences, from the Mid American to the Big Sky and everywhere in between.
Think there is rage-like conversation right now, the aftermath of what happened to Georgia-Florida State, wait till you see the rage that happens if this neogitation takes place, with haves leaving the have nots behind.
You may love Big Game-Saturdays in college football and March Madness in basketball. No one can love what has happened in a 24-month period with money driving everything in college sports now.
Hard to think things like Harvard-Yale in the Ivy League, might be the purest thing in college football right now.
Somebody needs to ‘Fix It’. The Baker Report and the Champions League idea is a start. Where it ends up remains to be seen.