The world of college athletics has changed, on the field, and on the court. And it is definitely changing in the business world.
The NCAA is dealing with crisis issues on an almost everyday basis.
The 5-Power conferences in the country are about to break away, autonomy is what it’s called. What it really is, is greed and nothing more. It appears the Pac 12, Big 12, Big 10, ACC and SEC will go their own way, operate with a different economic model, and let the rest, fend for themselves.
The NCAA has just lost a bitter lawsuit, the Ed O’Bannon case, where a judge has now ruled they cannot keep the money they get from sales of jerseys, helmets, memorabilia, if it uses the players likeness and image.
Then there are movements to unionize players, and get players more benefits, health care, food etc.
It is a never ending struggle now to maintain what was their business model, a profiteering model, whereby schools made millions, the NCAA headquarters made more, and the players got scholarships as a trade off for athletic ability for the Alma Mater.
I see no way out of this for Mark Emmert, the NCAA President. The mega million TV contracts have been fueled by the athletes success on the field. The school and the NCAA headquarters reaped all the benefits under the banner of student-athlete.
The Big 5-Conference breakaway means different rules for the Pac 12 and the like, and you wonder how the Mountain West or Conference USA will survive, if the big schools have more resources to spend and a new set of rules to operate by.
Yes many Division 1-athletes wind up with degrees, but truth be told, the great ones go to college to prepare for a possible pro career, and now they want to be paid more than just room-board-tuition.
Call it a cost of living stipend, but really call it for what it really is, the athletes want a cut of the pie.
It is complex. Penn State needs to win to fill 106,000 seat Beaver Stadium. They need a BCS bowl bid, because football money drives the other 43-intercollegiate varsity and club programs at State College.
It’s like that at every school, from Alabama there, to USC here.
But the rules for the big boys make it tough on the small guys too. If the NCAA allows a 2,000-stipend for every football and basketball player at Ohio State, how does a money strapped San Diego State keep up with that?
If the NCAA agreement on the O’Bannon lawsuit leads to a 5M payday for football and basketball players at a UCLA, how does a Western Michigan afford that?
If the training tables around the clock cost 1.4M a year at Florida State, how can Temple finance that?
And then there is Federal Law, and that is Title IX and women’s athletics standing outside the door, saying they are owed the same on an equal basis.
You might like the opening of the college football season or March Madness, but I guarantee every NCAA exec in the country has a migraine headache wondering what happens next.
The courts and the lawsuits and the judge’s decisions, tell you there is nothing left to be negotiated, because the NCAA didn’t handle it correctly before, and now it’s big money business and they cannot make the rules themselves any longer.