I know that some of you are firmly convinced that NIL compensation has brought about the end of college football as we know and more power to you for having that conviction. Me, I see something else.
I see a straight line from NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma to this…
… and recognize it as the death knell to one of the pillars that’s made college football the unique and wonderful experience it’s been for many decades.
Here’s the new Big Ten map:
The Big Ten is now a bi-coastal college sports league. I’d say that’s nuts, except it’s what the players — the ones who count, that is, meaning the conferences and their broadcast partners — want, damn the consequences. And, yes, there are plenty of those. Here’s some low hanging fruit in that regard.
They can’t, and they won’t really care. (Although the standard playbook would suggest that they’ll make some mouth noises about their concern, come up with a half-assed solution and proclaim they’re doing it for the kids.)
But forget that for a moment. Who’s really gonna get pumped up for a UCLA-Rutgers conference football game? Not their respective fan bases, that’s for sure. But it’s broadcast fodder, and, more importantly, helps to provide a framework for what’s coming out of this, namely a 20- or 24-team super league that will be set up to provide a feeder system for a new college football postseason.
I’m sure that will be entertaining for some. It will certainly provide shiny new toys to distract the media for years. But it’s not the college football I’ve grown up with and loved. Not that those in charge will care, at least not as long as the checks keep cashing.
I’ll be shocked if I’m still passionate about this sport five years from now. That’s a sad thing to realize.