Of Course It’s About the Money, Stupid!

Posted: September 28, 2011 in BCS, NCAA
Tags: , , , ,

As the landscape of college football is changing almost daily we are being bombarded with commentaries about how it’s all about greed with the NCAA. These pundits act as if they’ve stumbled on some deep, dark secret.

Welcome to the 21st century. Actually, welcome to the last 60 years.

What do you think gave these deep-thinkers their first clues that big-time college football was about the money? Was it the building of the huge stadiums? Was it compromising academic standards because someone could run fast, jump high, lift a ton, throw a football, catch a football or run through a brick wall? Was it compromising integrity in recruiting these incredible athletes? Was it paying the college coaches five times the salaries of the school presidents? Was it going into business with television networks?

College athletics may have started out as a way to provide students with physical activities and enhance school spirit, but those reasons went by the wayside as soon as schools realized alumni would return to the campuses to watch the games. And those alumni would pay for tickets and even make contributions for the privilege of buying those tickets.

Understand we’re only talking about a small number of schools. Most of the NCAA’s 1,500-plus member institutions keep athletics in perspective. But for the bigger schools, it is – and has been for a long time – a business. It has evolved during the last 60 years into a big business.

Schools jumping from one conference to another aren’t anything new. Why did eight schools bolt the Southern Conference to form the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953? Because those schools wanted to put more emphasis on athletics. Why did Southeastern Conference charter members Suwannee and Tulane bolt? Because they weren’t willing to compromise their standards and spend the money for athletics.

Schools have been changing conferences for years. I still have flashbacks of South Carolina in the ACC; Georgia Tech in the SEC; Arkansas in the Southwest (ooooppps, the entire conference bit the dust); the Pac-8; Penn State as an independent; and no Big East.

For 50 to 60 schools, such major financial investments have been made in athletics that there literally is no turning back. Sure, these schools could make admission standards for athletes comparable to the standards for non-athletes. Yeah, it’s possible they could quit breaking and bending rules in recruiting.

But they’re not going to stop. They’re going to continue to spend more, and that means they’ll continue chasing the money.

They’re not stupid.


  1. But, heavens forfend if Ray-Ray, DeSean or Casey has his hand out for a few bucks…PEACE.

  2. That is why the big boys should play in 4 different conferences and every one else in an other

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