Mark Cuban’s marketplace of ideas

As I read Mark Cuban’s latest suggestion for improving college football, a question popped into my mind.  Here’s a guy who’s creative, passionate about the game, wealthy, confident that he has access to significant amounts of capital and experienced in successfully running a professional sports franchise.

So why is he pushing to tweak college football instead of starting a professional college football league that would target kids coming out of high school?  If he’s got a half a trillion dollars to toss into a college football playoff, it would seem to me that he could get a pro football league started up for a whole lot less than that and that he could structure its schedule and postseason to meet his ideal format.  So why not pursue that?

Could it be that dear ol’ Whattsamatta U brings something of value to the table?  Shocking to consider that, I know.

And while I’m throwing this out, here’s something else to consider:  what’s stopping the mid-majors from taking up Cuban’s big money playoff proposal right now?  Get Arent Fox lobbying and somebody like Sally Jenkins to push it in the media as a fair alternative to the BCS and they’d have something, right?  A couple of years of watching the MAC and the Sun Belt settling it on the field while making boat loads of money would be a humbling experience for Jim Delany and Bill Hancock.  The BCS would no doubt crumple in the face of such an assault.

Because it’s all about the format.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

13 responses to “Mark Cuban’s marketplace of ideas

  1. JBJ

    The major thing I take away from his article is the non-conference schedule weakness. From the Top 20, they played 75 non-conference games which resulted in 70 wins and 5 losses. VT made up two of those losses against Boise and JM. So then my question is, “Is this due to weakness of the non-conference teams or strength of the Top 20?”.


  2. Dante

    Start-ups have a ridiculously high failure rate, especially when it comes to football. It would be silly to start your own league. Cuban is looking at something a lot of people in an existing system are clamoring for and is trying to cash in on that. That’s what good businessmen do. Just look at the BCS. They’ve turned a simple 1 vs. 2 idea into a 5-bowl high-dollar frenzy. Cuban is looking to do the same thing with a different angle.


  3. “So why is he pushing to tweak college football instead of starting a professional college football league that would target kids coming out of high school? ”

    The fact that the NFL stomps and destroyed anyone who tries to compete against them. Right now the NFL has too much power for anyone to even attempt a rival league.


    • It wouldn’t necessarily be a rival to the NFL, if it were carefully structured as a professional alternative to college football.

      In fact, without restrictions on coaching time, I would think the NFL might wind up embracing it.


      • gastr1

        When I read the post I kinda went back and forth as to whether your tone was ironic or earnest, Senator. I’d be surprised if you were serious, though, especially about the pro league start-up. Cuban is certainly a blowhard, but he’s not stupid enough to compete directly with the NFL; he knows that the selling point is not a playoff system per se with any ol’ bunch of hacks duking it out, but rather, it is in finding a way to sate a strong (and popular) desire within an already massively-popular sport. The folks who figure this out get to be heroes in the eyes of most and may get some kind of massive financial return to boot.

        Seems to me it’s sorta like spending money to come up with a zero emissions car that runs forever, costs virtually nothing to power, and is as big or as small as you want it to be with all the bells and whistles…virtually everyone would want one. The attempt to figure out how to do it is strong because the positive outcome for the figurer is so large.


        • Again, don’t look at a start-up as competing with the NFL, but rather as a compliment to it. Players in such a league would become eligible for the NFL at the same time college kids do. It’s basically an independent minor league which would complete with college teams for its players.

          The proposal isn’t serious, because the Alabamas, Notre Dames and Georgias of the CFB world bring something of value to the table which Cuban couldn’t replicate in such a league. That’s also why the mid-majors along jumping on Cuban’s playoff train is a complete non-starter.


          • gastr1

            Gotcha. The minor league idea could have some traction, yeah. “Minor” is just not Cuban’s style, though, FWIW. 🙂


      • Regular Guy

        Whether it rivals the NFL or the NCAA, it would be up against a pretty powerful machine either way. I just don’t know who would choose to watch these games over their NFL/College/High School teams, because unless they’re going play their games on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, they would be opposite one (or more) of those groups.

        Also, kids have a hard time keeping out of trouble within the somewhat structured environment of a University system. Can you imagine the problems if the kids didn’t at least have that? If this league were just for primarily college-age players, you wouldn’t even have the veterans around to take younger players under their wings like you have in the NBA, MLB, etc. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to take on the inevitable headaches of starting a league comprised of 18-22 yr olds with nothing but time on their hands outside of football, plus trying to sell the league to advertisers against the NFL, NCAA, etc.

        The reason the NCAA can pretty much do whatever the F it wants (within legal bounds) is because it knows there is no credible threat of competition from an outside entity. That’s not “fair”, but it’s reality.


  4. crapsandwich

    I have a great idea for a new league, we can call it the “Busta out League”. Thats right like the old Cocaine Basketball Association (CBA). We let them have the Montez Robinson’s of the world, all the discarded players of Saban, throw a few “I’m going to kill you” texters, and hey Auburn well we could have take Cam off your hands for our new league. Any takers?


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    It would be interesting if someone could come up with a plan that would (i) allow the mid majors a bigger opportunity to settle it on the field, and (ii) allow the big schools to keep the revenue they generate. Watching the mid majors pooh pooh it would reveal their true intentions to get their hands in someone else’s pocket.


  6. Macallanlover

    I hope Cuban does start a NFL Farm program for the non-student athletes coming out of HS. The college game would be better for it. If he limits the number of teams, ties regional pride into it, and doesn’t conflict with other scheduled football games, he has a shot at pulling it off. The NFL owners could embrace a concept like that if done correctly.


  7. Pingback: Mid Major Playoff? « The Grit Tree

  8. 69Dawg

    NCAA FBS and to a lesser extent FCS are in fact a farm league for the NFL. Why else would there be the gentlemen’s agreement by the NFL not to draft players until their 3rd year. Simple the NFL has determined that HS kids can’t play in the league physically or mentally and need 3 years of growth and seasoning. If the NFL like the NBA or MLB felt that it only took 1 or 2 the draft would change. So who is the keeper of the keys to the kingdom, the NCAA or the NFL? College Basketball has changed forever due to the one and done rule. College Football is left alone by the pros because they need a feeder system, simple as that.

    I think the new USF or whatever it is can serve as that feeder and they should open up their draft to all undergraduates they feel are ready and lets see how many poor underprivileged All-Americans stay on at good old Whats-Matta-U.