Connelly: Why SEC and Big 10 greed could destroy College

  • Bill Connelly, ESPN Staff WriterMar 15, 2024, 12:50 PM ET Close Expense Connelly is a personnel writer for 1960, Northwestern athletic director Stu Holcomb got a wild concept: A playoff in college football!The former Purdue football coach was a fan of the competitions

    that were settling in sports such as basketball and baseball, and he wanted something similar for the most popular college sport. He visualized an eight-team endeavor consisting of the champs of the AAWU(the future Pac-10), ACC, Big 8, Big 10, SEC and SWC, plus 2 at-larges(possibly chosen amongst the effective independents of the time), and he suggested that a few of the income such a tournament would produce might be diverted to the American Olympic Fund and other worthwhile causes such as medical research study. “It would be a wonderful thing if such a competition might come about,”Holcomb informed The Associated Press.Needless to state, the concept went no place. It earned a couple of rounds of paper headings and a lot of positive and hilariously negative actions from newspaper writers, but it vanished from the papers by the middle of the year. Talk of a college football playoff would not really resume till Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty picked up the mantel a few years later. Still, viewed from a present-day lens, it was a surprisingly worthy proposition. Playing some extra football games to both determine a real nationwide champ and raise cash for great causes? As ignorant as the proposal may have been, what’s not to appreciate about that?Granted, the present College Football Playoff, which originated more than 50 years after Holcomb’s proposal(and with half the teams ), does wind up sending a lot of cash

    to Olympic sports in the kind of funds for college teams. Nevertheless, the freshly expanded playoff– 12 groups in 2024-25, then, as just recently reported, likely 14 teams in the years that follow– offers a similarly noble chance: to ensure there are as numerous athletic departments as possible prepared to money the professional athlete settlement that is coming down the pike in one kind or another.Editor’s Picks 2 Associated Instead, that cash is going to be utilized to make certain the SEC and Big 10 broaden their financial advantages over everyone else.In December, NCAA president Charlie Baker proposed guideline changes that would, for the very first time, enable Department I schools to pay their

    professional athletes.

    “[ It] is time for us– the NCAA– to provide our own forward-looking framework,”he said.”This framework needs to sustain the best components of the student-athlete experience for all student-athletes, build on the financial and organizational investments that have actually favorably changed the trajectory of women’s sports, and boost the athletic and scholastic experience for student-athletes who attend the greatest resourced colleges and universities.”The proposition was loose with specifics, but the general idea was that schools in a recently produced subdivision would pay at least $30,000 per professional athlete each year for a minimum of half their professional athletes, and those payments would be split similarly in between male and female athletes.Baker’s proposal was plainly an effort to avoid what the court system might be sending out the NCAA’s way in the coming years. It faces professional athlete unionization efforts, antitrust lawsuits, reasonable labor claims and state law changes, all of which are guiding(or shoving) it towards a player payment model of some sort. For several years, its only strategies were stalling at all costs or pleading Congress for assistance. Baker’s maneuver might not end up sufficing, however it was the very first progressive step the NCAA has taken on this matter, well, ever.Now, let’s do some back-of-the-napkin mathematics. Depending on how many sports a Division I program offers (and whether it provides payments to all of its professional athletes or just the recommended half ), such a plan would in theory cost athletic departments in between $4 million and$ 12 million each year at minimum. Considering that the most recent figures from USA Today’s financial database(for public universities

    only )reveal 49 public D-I programs took in profits of a minimum of $100 million in 2022-23, this would not be an especially high bar for many major athletic programs to clear, even if it takes a bit of reconfiguring in terms of other salaries, building tasks, et cetera. But considering nearly two-thirds of the programs at that level took in less than $40 million in profits, this would be an impossibility for quite a few other universities, at least without cutting numerous sports teams.While we await official information from the upcoming CFP television agreement, considering a 12-team CFP was set to draw something around$1.3 billion every year, it’s fair to assume a 14-teamer, with two additional first-round games, could be worth something like$1.5 billion, about$900 million of which would be new and uncommitted funds. If divided similarly among all 363 Department I programs, that would average out to $4.1 million per school,$ 3.4 million of which would be from uncommitted funds.

    If distributed to only the 261 D-I schools with football programs, that’s$5.7 million per school($3.4 million uncommitted ). FBS schools just?$11.1 million per school($6.7 million uncommitted). Develop a blend of the options there, and you could cover the huge majority, if not all, of the possible expenses from a $30,000-per-athlete strategy. Greg Sankey has utilized CFP utilize to try and get his league guaranteed playoff byes and more cash. George Walker IV/AP Put another way, this broadened playoff might pay for the future of college sports. And if the money does not rather work, then let’s be honest: 14 teams is a truly silly number for a competition– proposed by the SEC and Big 10 to ensure that there are 2 additional at-large bids for them to catch, plus only 2 byes (that their champs would

    regularly earn)– when 16 is right there. So let’s make it 16. That most likely includes another $100 million to $200 million to the total annual pool. Hell, make it an FCS-style 24 teams if you desire. And proceed and approve that NCAA basketball tournament expansion, too– we’ve got worthy objectives here! (Or at least, whatever the “college sports making great deals of money”version of “noble “is.)Every current discussion about the future of college sports mean some foreboding universe in which paying professional athletes forces universities to drop sports and possibly unintentionally destroys college sports altogether. Those discussions are probably overwrought– and the method administrators continue to threaten the health of ladies’s sports in specific as a sort of”listen to us, or else! “danger in the payment conversation continues to be especially gross– but here’s a remarkable, billion-dollar workaround. It could lead the way towards a brilliant future.This, obviously, is not what’s going to occur. The commissioners of the broadened SEC and Big Ten, Greg Sankey and Tony Pettiti, are using this discussion as an occasion to extort concessions from the rest of FBS.In the present CFP deal, each power conference gets 16%of the set CFP profits circulation, while the 5 other conferences and independents divided the staying 20%between them. There is likewise a pool of money distributed directly to schools that receive the playoff. Even if every FBS program made the same share of the surefire circulation money progressing, the SEC and Big 10 would be positioned to make much more yearly revenue than the rest of the pack because of their financially rewarding media rights offers and the fact that, with their powerful lineups, they will declare a big percentage of

    CFP bids.That’s not enough for them, however. They’re likewise requiring a much greater portion of set revenue– recent reporting suggests the SEC and Big Ten will now combine for about 57 %of the guaranteed bag, while the ACC and Huge 12(and Notre Dame)combine for about 34%and the Group of 5 groups and staying independent will now split 9%. Generally, G5s will get a small increase in total earnings, while the Big 10 and SEC increase their take by about 280% when, again, they had a baked-in benefit to begin with.A good business brain would tell you that the new Power 2 had enormous leverage, the Big 12 and ACC had little, and the Group of 5 had none,

    so this was just how an appropriate negotiation ought to go. Zero-sum gains and all. However this is a brand-new revenue stream, one that everyone could benefit significantly from, and this does not need to be zero-sum– why is anybody applying take advantage of at all? And how much money do you in fact need, anyhow? Even bad SEC and Big Ten teams will now make about $21 million annually from the CFP while excellent G5 teams will make$1.8 million. It probably goes without stating that an Ohio requires $21 million a lot more than an Ohio State, however hey, the Buckeyes have the”utilize. “Infuriating, isn’t it?Top stories of the week from Get exclusive access to countless premium short articles a year from top writers. – Lowe: Dangerous West group growing “- Ranking NFL’s top 100 complimentary agents “- Leading 10 NHL competitions: How about FLA-TB?” More ESPN+material “We talk a huge game about how [insert subject of the day that we don’t like] is going to damage college football. Conference adjustment … a little playoff … a big playoff … head injuries … targeting charges developed to cut down head injuries … players generating income. If you do not like some modification, you state it the death of the sport. These declarations have been best 0%of the time. Possibly I’m incorrect this time, too. However to me, the most significant existing threat to college football’s future is the wealthiest programs starving the remainder of the community and, in effect, relegating the rest of significant college
    football by ensuring they don’t have the profits to effectively pay their athletes.Want to really do long-term damage to college football? Diminish the variety of programs that aspire to big-time ball,

    require some others to perhaps drop a neighborhood (or drop football completely)and shrink the number of general scholarships available to play the sport( or any of the sports that may see groups dropped in droves). The SEC and Big Ten currently have all the advantages. They currently boast the majority of the programs efficient in winning the national title, and if or when Florida State and Clemson (and maybe Miami) battle their way out of the ACC, they’ll practically have them all. But right now, there are 134 universities willing to pay out 85 scholarships annually, plus lots of other advantages, and invest countless dollars simply to be part of the FBS club, make a little more cash for their other programs, and ideally go.500 and play in a minor bowl game.Inequality has actually

    constantly ruled this sport, but there has actually always been space for anybody who wishes to invest. Iowa State averaged more than 60,000 in home presence last season. NC State, its fans having never saw a top-10 finish, balanced nearly 57,000. East Carolina balanced over 35,000 while going 2-10. UConn hasn’t had a winning season since 2010 and averaged almost 25,000. New Mexico State has completed over.500 in just 7 of its past 56 seasons in top-division college football and drew almost 15,000 per game. None of these schools are long-lasting risks to LSU or Michigan. Maybe those presence levels would not drop in a world where NMSU or UConn or ECU– and even NC State or Iowa State– are required to play ball in a various neighborhood since they can’t manage to pay what the SEC or Big Ten is paying(though it most likely bears mentioning that over the previous 4 seasons that weren’t impacted by COVID, when an English Premier League team was relegated, its presence fell by 9%usually, according to TruMedia). But why the hell would we want to find out?Is there anything that could stop this ongoing power get? And do we care? In 2015, a survey administered by Sportico and the Harris Poll discovered that 68 %of participants concurred conference realignment was”an issue in college sports,”but just 18 %stated adjustment had in fact reduced their satisfaction of it. Tv rankings are going to be fantastic for all the new conference pairings the Power 2 conferences will break out this fall– Georgia at Texas, Ohio State at Oregon, Alabama at Oklahoma, USC at Michigan, Oklahoma at LSU, Oregon at Michigan, Michigan at Washington, Washington at Penn State and, naturally, Texas at Texas A&M. We don’t tend to turn” I don’t like this”into”I’m not going to see this,”and we do not precisely have German soccer fans’flair for sticking up for themselves. (Those German demonstrations worked, by the way. )Would demonstrations and game disruptions at FBS schools outside the SEC and Big Ten have any effect? Would anyone even think to attempt to stick up for themselves?In the ongoing dispute about whether college football requires a commissioner figure– well, it’s not so much a dispute as everyone apparently concurring that a person is needed and absolutely nothing ever occurring– Greg Sankey’s name practically inevitably comes up. But his and Tony Pettiti’s decision-making seems to be the biggest existing hazard to the college football environment. (College basketball, too.)If such a position were to ever exist, I ‘d prefer someone who really cares about all of college football and college sports.

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