I have seen the future of college football…

… and it’s not a pretty picture.

Spencer Hall’s “first thing, let’s blame the lawyers” essay on where to direct things is a depressing read, for many reasons.  If you’d just prefer a shorter, “ah, fuck this” version, an alert reader directed me to Patrick Hruby’s brief take on blowing the whole thing up and not starting over.

Have a nice day.

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26 Comments

Filed under College Football

26 responses to “I have seen the future of college football…

  1. Good read by Spencer. It will be interesting to see how the game evolves over time – or more to the point, if it can evolved quickly enough to avoid going extinct.

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    • Macallanlover

      It will certainly become extinct as we know it, just a question of when. I would prefer that to happen quicker than through evolution. That would give us a better chance to have the development league concept for the elite players become a reality, and can perhaps still save CFB with a student athlete game on campus for the middle/lesser players that might be competitive “Group of 5 level” entertainment. Since I feel we ultimately bring it all down, I would prefer a split now and have both available.

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  2. sniffer

    There was a time when boys grew up dreaming of playing for the home team. Those days are largely gone. What’s wrong with club level football? Played by fraternity brothers and guys who make all C’s? Seriously. When UGA plays florida, is it really our guys against their guys? Maybe championships would mean something again.

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    • Huntindawg

      I hate to say it, but P5 college football really isn’t a “college sport” anymore. You have a group of men that predominantly would never be admitted to the school where they are playing absent their football skills – they would never make it in based upon the standard measures used to assess all other applicants. Many of them are there solely for the purpose of trying to make it to the NFL. Many could care less if they ever see the inside of a classroom. They are truly developmental NFL players. And by the way, I try to watch every Saturday game possible.

      So what I mean by “college sport” is a sport played by college students. If each school is going to have its own professional team, so be it, and let the market work its magic. Draw up some rules requiring a percentage of profits to be directed toward the school’s academic mission.

      In the past few years I’ve started watching college lacrosse. That’s a true college sport by my definition. None of those guys has any aspirations of going pro as a career move – they are playing for the love of the game. And the fans that are at the games are there to cheer on the college students playing for their school. I think that’s where this all started with football too, right?

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  3. Former Fan

    At least the pros could get their players to sign some sort of waiver with the money they are being paid. Not college or high school though. The game will change. Not if, but when.

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    • Otto

      The game is changing. I turned the NFL off thanks to their pass friendly, WR friendly pass interference rules and QB protection. I have stated on here and elsewhere that I hope to see UGA win a championship before I run the game off.

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  4. Russ

    Good article by Spencer and I agree with it. Football as we know it will die eventually. CTE will kill it if the game doesn’t fundamentally change, and Spencer did a good job covering some of the changes that might save it.

    Of course, when the ESPN money dries up, CFB will change due to that as well. CTE and lack of money will be a double-whammy. Not sure the game will survive that.

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  5. If coaches taught appropriate safe fundamentals (like not using the helmet as a weapon), I think that would take a huge step toward reducing concussions and their long-term effect. If the enforcement of the rules punished leading with the helmet other than “targeting” or spearing, coaches would get the message quickly that they need to encourage heads up play.

    Otherwise, we look at football going the way of the dinosaur and the buggy whip or becoming a sport (7 on 7) that no one would pay money to watch in person or on TV.

    The Washington Post article should scare the living hell out of those who make their living off the largesse of money that comes through college football.

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  6. JarvisCrowell

    These articles are huge overreactions. It pains me to see so many sad sack writers who obviously care nothing for the game try to destroy it. Football may change over time but this talk of it going extinct is laughable.
    CTE is an important issue, however getting significant CTE before professional level of play is unlikely. We should do a better job of informing players about its risk and allowing them to make their own decision.
    Coal miners and soldiers risk equivalent/greater bodily harm and don’t get paid crap for it, not to mention none of the fame and endorsements.
    Football totally changed the trajectory of my life and is directly responsible for every bit of happiness and success i have achieved thereafter.
    I’ll be damned if I take a writer for Vox seriously about anything football related, as they probably think it’s Sexist, and deep down are just sick of feeling embarrassed when other men discuss football around them.

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    • It pains me to see so many sad sack writers who obviously care nothing for the game try to destroy it….

      I’ll be damned if I take a writer for Vox seriously about anything football related,…

      You clearly don’t know a damn thing about Spencer Hall, but I hope bitching about Vox was cathartic for you.

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      • JarvisCrowell

        Spencer Hall the writer for worthless Vox company SB Nation? Same one who advocates WEIGHT LIMITS FOR PLAYERS?! Hell yeah dude if he said it it’s obviously right. The fact that you took offense to my bitching about Vox just shows that your one of those same sad sacks. Go put on your best pair of skinny jeans and join the riots at Berkley.

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        • Are you this ignorant in real life or just on the internet?

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          • JarvisCrowell

            If you think this game is so damaging that it needs to be blown up and rebuilt as a totally different sport altogether, then why on earth would you contribute to it by buying tickets, watching games, and following this blog? I mean seriously have a little integrity.

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            • None of my responses had anything to do with your position on brain trauma so clearly you don’t get what I was responding to. It’s about your utter ignorance of who Spencer Hall is with respect to CFB blogging. I don’t want to speak for the Senator, but I have to believe that Spencer has influenced his writing to some extent being the groundbreaker he was in the CFB blogging world. The assertion that Spencer Hall doesn’t care about college football is absurd on its face if you know anything about the guy. Just because the company Spencer works for was purchased by Vox doesn’t somehow invalidate what he’s contributed to the industry and that’s why you deserve to be called ignorant.

              FWIW – I agree with your comment the Senator responded to, but CFB also bears responsibility to actually do those things you suggest. The NFL falsified testing for years to hide the fact that they knew football indeed caused brain trauma and that is utter bullshit. I’m all for personal responsibility, but I also believe people have a right to full disclosure before choosing to participate in risky activities. Shit man – I support a lot of things that I know are dangerous. They practically let anybody that can fog a mirror carry a gun in my state, but I also firmly support the 2nd Amendment.

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        • And get the hell off my lawn and take all those damn hippies with you. Grumble, grumbles, then just loses it.
          Bye the way Berkeley not Berkley-at least spell the snark correctly.

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    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Actually, a 2015 study of brains of men who only played high school football found that 32% of them had signs of CTE. It turns out that children’s brains may not be robust enough to withstand repeated impacts. But hey, those brain researchers have probably never been in the arena, amirite?

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      • JarvisCrowell

        Know the risks, play if you want, dont if you don’t. Don’t understand the desire to ruin everybody else’s good time just because you don’t like it. Frankly, what you’re doing is advocating for the destruction of football. It’s incredibly hypocritical to follow a football blog in this case, as you are supporting the industry you find so damaging.

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          “Love it or leave it,” is a bogus argument in all things. I’ve enjoyed football most of my life. I played before anyone suspected the risks involved. My son played just as information about CTE risk was becoming known. At that point, I encouraged him to pursue non-contact sports.

          I enjoy football so much that, rather than see it blown up under the weight of class-action judgments, I hope it can reform itself into a better sport. It has survived many changes in the past. The flying wedge was banned. Most recently, I can recall cries from “fans” who fervently believed that outlawing defenders leading with their heads against defenseless receivers would destroy the sport and result in momma’s boys playing safety. Fortunately, the result seems to be a slightly safer game with any apocalypse averted.

          Similarly, if safety can be maximized while preserving the spirit of the game, I would like to see it. And I certainly can’t appreciate the opinions of people who dumbly shout, “‘MURICA!!” against people who hesitate to see brain injury risked for the purpose of entertainment.

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        • A serious question? If football were destroyed, would it destroy your life? Or would you find something else to do?

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  7. JarvisCrowell

    Provide players good education about the risks, work on developing new equipment that minimizes damage, teach tackling techniques that minimize damage. Then allow people to make their own decisions.
    This really is crazy, people die every year skiing, so let’s ban that too. Children are hurt every year from trampolines so therefore no one can have one! Or be a damn adult take care of your children and yourself as you see fit, and allow everyone else to do the same.

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    • Provide players good education about the risks, work on developing new equipment that minimizes damage, teach tackling techniques that minimize damage. Then allow people to make their own decisions.

      Totally agree with this. The problem is that the NCAA has been loathe to do so.

      I would add that even were all this in place, schools should have an obligation to see to it that players receive medical care for brain trauma, even after their school days are over.

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      • JarvisCrowell

        Fair response senator, I agree the reluctance of the NFL and NCAA to do the right thing in response to player safety has made this problem much worse than it had to be. It seems large organizations like this love being their own worst enemy.
        I agree the argument can be made that schools are responsible for medical care even after graduation, but I would assume the schools would fire back by requiring some kind of waiver for players to sign a absolving them of that responsibility. Legally speaking, do you think they’d be able to pull that off?

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        • Otto

          Yes I have been screaming wrap up since I heard my father yell it as a kid and attempting to tackle with an explosive hit continues to be a bigger problem. In my opinion the coaches need more practice time to teach correct tackling, if anything the NCAA should designate x amount of time specifically to this problem. The coaches are limited as to how much time they can spend with player of course enforcing that it is used for tackling specifically is a million dollar question.

          I do question how much football is being forced to change compared to other sports. Soccer is close behind in the number of concussions but when there is a concussion it is with greater severity. What have you heard about soccer changing? How much of that is because former players see a possible pay out? http://www.newsleader.com/story/sports/2015/06/25/concussions-soccer-football-wrestling/29268651/

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          • To Otto: totally out of curiosity—in soccer all that hitting the ball with ones head, has to eventually catch up,right?
            I will have to go and research this.

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  8. 69Dawg

    Well since I am a member of the first generation of plastic helmets, I can speak to the issue of weapon verses protection. As soon as the plastic helmet was introduced it became a weapon. It was not so much from the standpoint of head to head even though the face mask had to come about because of the broken noses and missing teeth caused by guys being hit in the face by the helmet. Instead of tackling by wresting the ball carrier down, leading with the head in order to punish the ball carriers body was popular. Shoulder pads were a joke until the helmet started to break ribs and sternums then the shoulder pads had to include padding for the chest and upper back. Well most of the modernization of protective equipment was the direct result of the plastic helmet, to protect from it. Some Rugby players wear cloth padded headgear to protect their ears like boxers do but if football revered to it’s roots It would be safer.

    I’m also a proponent of the use of the yellow card and red card in football. The NFL and CFB are laughable in their penalties. If you get two Unsportsman like conduct penalties you are kicked out of the game. So we are saying that if you cuss your opponent or take a swing at him after a play you are Unsportsmanlike and should not play, but you can get all the personal fouls you want and stay in the game. You want safety, refs give yellow cards for both types of offenses and two yellows get your butt kicked out. I know that they are trying to do it for targeting but wouldn’t it be faster to just red card the guy and play on. If you want to give him a yellow for the targeting because you don’t think it was deliberate find but if he gets another PF or US penalty kick him out. These players will cut the crap, at least after one yellow. I’m not for making the player sit for the following game but the refs should let the coach know that the player will get a red card if he starts to pull the same old same old.

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