College football is a mess right now.

I love college football. I love the excitement, enthusiasm, purity and especially the competition which college football provides. College football is a mess right now. We’ve talked about so many of the problems which include the disparity in wealth between the academic institutions and the scheduling of top universities or lack thereof, and of course, the present system called the college football playoff which determines the national champion.

I touched upon something recently which had very little exposure but may signal the end of college football as we know it. I am not trying in any way to offer a death knell to the sport we all know and love. But what I am trying to do is bring attention to the state of college football and the further challenges which are ahead.

You may recall recently the Northwestern Wildcats and their football team attempted to unionize. That would’ve been a disaster. Fortunately, the national labor board in Washington DC did not see it that they had all the requirements to call themselves a union. Can you imagine the negotiations between player representatives and administrators? Can you imagine how some players who are stars or have NFL potential would have demanded more money than the third string center? Fortunately, that was averted.

There remains the question of are college athletes truly students and should be considered as amateurs? There was a time when they were all pure, supposed to only receive a scholarship. But with the huge amounts of money the schools are making primarily off football and basketball, that had to change. Right now, in addition to that scholarship and all the food an athlete wants to eat as well as other fringe benefits like sneakers and uniforms and shirts and probably many other things, college football players are permitted to receive a small stipend of somewhere between two and $5000 per year. If we get into the $10,000 range, we might as well call them professionals and designate college football as a minor league. One would be naïve to believe that college football players did not receive fringe benefits even before these huge football contracts. At the big schools, all the stars did. But those side benefits paled in comparison to what might be on the table down the road. Something is lurking in the air which could in fact destroy the balance of college football which already is in jeopardy.

I’m talking about the California legislature passing a law which allows a student to use his or her image or name for remuneration. That means money. Big money. Not for the school, not for the team just the player. New York is now considering passing one as well. What that would do is have all the star athletes in basketball primarily but also football players gravitate to those states that allow them to earn probably tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on the side depending on how much of a star that affect maybe. You might as well stick a fork in the status of college football especially in basketball where one player can completely dominate or change a game. Now, I want to make it known I am a true capitalist. I think it’s unfair that athletes can earn money on certain contracts in other sports and still be amateurs in the sport that they play at the college level. But this won’t just shake up college football it will be in earthquake. Let’s hope for once the NCAA, has enough talented lawyers to prevent this legislation from being implemented.


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