During the ACC Spring Meetings, I was fascinated by a lot of the topics, one in particular.
What does ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips and the other leaders in college athletics believes is ahead for the cash cow of most athletic departments, football? I was so fascinated by what was said and by what wasn’t said, but implied.
We all understand the terminology, coach-speak and know at times, it’s frustrating. Last week we heard AD-speak and commissioner-speak. It all seemed to be intentionally and purposefully vague but was that by design or by necessity, only time holds the answer.
“I think it’s time for us to look at alternative models for football,” Phillips said. “If we’re ever going to do something, and I hear about the future of football and taking care of the sport of football, this is the time to do it. What are you doing with the sport of football? Does it need to be managed separately? Do you need to have a governance structure? Those are questions we should be asking ourselves.”
The key term here, at least for me, is alternative models. We all have our ideas of what’s meant by that, but the only ideas that matter are of those that lead the change.
As he continued to explain, it’s not for all levels within the NCAA, just the 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame. With the idea being that the bigger football programs could operate independently of the NCAA, or parallel to it, as Phillips said, and not be subject to the same rules and regulations.
Many leaders in college sports are on record as saying they thought it was more likely that the Power-5 conferences would break off from the NCAA and start their own governing body. Then, Phillips explained, that he “doesn’t see that happening any time soon.”
One huge issue, often overlooked by the unwashed masses, is what happens to the other golden goose, basketball and March Madness? The NCAA and the conferences are under contract with CBS and Turner through 2032. According to reports, that deal will deliver a whopping $1.1 billion per year of revenue beginning in 2025.
“No one wants to disrupt that,” Phillips said. “Basketball feeds a lot of mouths in college athletics, and a lot of schools depend on that. It’s one of the great tournaments that we have in college athletics. I hear a lot about Power 5 moving away from everyone else, I don’t see that happening right now, or over the next five or 10 years. I just don’t.”
The real truth or at least the most real acknowledgment that was spoken came from Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick.
I believe, after reading, this is very much tied to what Phillips was talking about with alternate models for football. It could be either a dream scenario or a nightmare. Regardless which comes to fruition, the changes are coming. It’s just a matter of when.
The more that trickles out into the public, the more fascinating and frustrating it becomes to decipher. Fans will have to do the near-impossible, and just be patient.
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