“The athletes are not a property of the university.”

Good piece from Pete Thamel exploring the decision of players like Fournette and McCaffrey to pass on playing in bowl games in an era when there doesn’t seem to be an end to expanding the pool.  And why is that?  C’mon, you know why.

That corporate sprawl offered another reminder—if you needed one—just how much cash is at stake. There’s a reason ESPN televises 38 of the 41 games and owns and operates 13 of them. There’s a reason that 27 of the 41 bowl games didn’t exist 30 years ago.

In a suite high above FAU Stadium during the second quarter, American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco recalled his time as an executive at CBS when they televised an Indiana-Butler game in 2012 that ended in an overtime upset of the No. 1 Hoosiers. Aresco was thrilled until he saw the Gildan New Mexico Bowl—between Arizona and Nevada—crush it in the ratings by 1.9 to 1.5. “That’s when I realized,” he said, “football had become king.”

If you’re ESPN, December is berry, berry good to you.

But bowl games have undeniably become the December background noise at your company holiday party, your December treadmill sprints and those cold nights when the Potato Bowl is more comforting than leaving the couch. Americans like watching football, as evidence by the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl—between non-traditional powers Baylor and North Carolina—doing the same rating (2.6) as the top-rated regular season college basketball (UNC-Duke) last year. The December bowl orgy is annually one of the most flush ratings runs for ESPN every year…

Forget school spirit.  What about us couch potatoes on a cold weekday night needing the kind of fix only the Boca Raton Bowl can provide?

So, remember, kids — at least those rare and few of you gifted enough to have a chance to play on Sundays while being relegated to a lower-tier exhibition game for one last hurrah — if you’re not motivated to stick around for your teammates and dear old U, do it for all the college football junkies out there.  Otherwise, we’ll be stuck watching meaningless regular season college basketball games.  The horror!

ESPN and its advertisers are counting on you.  Don’t let them down.



Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

16 responses to ““The athletes are not a property of the university.”

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Your sincerity brings a smile.


  2. Moe Pritchett

    Let em sit but then let that redshirt play without losing his redshirt…just the bowl game …deal ?


  3. Macallanlover

    As tongue-in-cheek as you meant it, beneath that is an ugly sliver of truth. And it isn’t just the bowl games, the “all about me” attitude is there all along for an increasingly large group of the privileged athletes. And when some of us cut back on our financial and emotional support for dear old College U, it won’t just be for special projects like the IPF. The things that make that such a special experience can erode away quickly. They are killing the Golden Goose……PAAAAWWWLLLLL!!!


    • Bazooka Joe

      Dear ol College U forgot us a long time ago. They are no better (in fact Id say worse) than kids skipping a meaningless bowl game.
      The goose is dead…. long live the goose !


  4. Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered


  5. SouthGaDawg

    I love to hear the Joey Jocksniffers on the national media. These guys and gals constantly put down the bowls. They are almost crying real tears about how bad bowl games are. I really can’t understand the hate for bowl games. In my myopic lens, it’s college football in December that’s about to go in hibernation for 8 months. The more the better.


  6. sUGArdaddy

    Anyone who has ever competed has a hard time understanding this. It is about a brotherhood like few other things.

    From a business perspective, I get it. I don’t like it, and would never have done it, and wouldn’t counsel my sons to do it. When you are 70, what will you wish you had done? Obviously, the injury potential is the game-changer. If you get injured, you might have wished you had not played. But it makes little sense. Todd got hurt in game 10 and still went top 10.

    I wish football had more of a Hockey and Baseball approach.

    -Have the draft in the season.
    -the money is already guaranteed when the season is over.
    -incentive is to play because your rookie contract and bonus is already set.
    -Juniors know if/where they were drafted and can make much more informed decisions.
    -Step out of the college game and immediately help at the end of the season.

    They’d never do it because of the combine, but that whole thing is such a waste. Draft players, not combine heroes.


  7. Derek

    Basketball is ok. At least we beat tech at it last night!


  8. Chopdawg

    Welcome to college football’s exhibition season.


  9. 69Dawg

    College Football has reversed the season. In the old days the bowl games were few and so the reward for those teams going were sweeter. Now with the 70+ teams needed to fill up the bowls its just an exhibition with a minimal perk to the kids playing. So CFB is now a sport where the exhibition games are after the real season and are even more meaningless. I fully expect the WWL to start using graphic tricks to make it look like there are people in the stands for the game. By the way you can get Liberty Bowl tickets for $26.00 now so buy buy buy. Oh yea the schools need to stop guaranteeing ticket sales, that’s just wrong.


  10. Mr Obvious

    2012? You would think a television executive would have noticed all the conference re-alignment taking place prior to that.


  11. I did not realize 38 out of 41 broadcast on ESPN. A staggering number and as a result a staggering amount of $$$$$.