Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Jun 2010

Texas Declines Pac-10 Invitation; Big 12 Survives

The reign of superconferences will have to hold off for a little bit longer. In the last 24 hours, the impending implosion of the Big 12 was unexpectedly defused. The Texas Longhorns aren't going anywhere, and all indications suggest Texas A&M is staying put as well. Fox Sports has reportedly offered a richer TV rights package to the 10-member Big 12 than anyone had anticipated (or fathomed). Texas will take home most of those spoils, but everyone else in the conference -- especially the Big 12 northerners who stood to lose most in the Pac-16 scenario -- have to be satisfied as well. At least until the next wave of conference raiding begins anew.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 14 Jun 2010

108 comments, Last at 18 Jun 2010, 6:33am by Robbie

Comments

1
by Rocco :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 9:06pm

As it currently stands the Big 12 has ten teams, the Big 10 has twelve teams, and the Pac 10 has eleven teams. Now, I'll be the first to admit I suck at math and counting, but I think some conference name changes are in order. This is "Atlanta in the NFC West" level confusing.

2
by HostileGospel :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 9:12pm

Agreed- the SEC should change its name to the Big 11, the ACC to the Big 15, and the Big East to the Big 0.

--
They must of thought I was the old Osama Bin Laden they made me strip down somethn crucial at the airport sheeeeesh... not djacc I'm str8

-Djacc, via Twitter

7
by Hari-Kiri Bengals Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:21am

Go! Go Big O! Big O!

12
by dryheat :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:19am

Memphis has some FedEx money behind it and would like a seat at the grown-ups' table....

3
by andrew :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 9:49pm

------------------- warning zone ----------------
STUPID POLITICAL COMMENT BY AN IDIOT WHO REFUSES TO FOLLOW THE RULES DELETED HERE.
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back to the rest, logic reasons they will not want to swap names with the Big 10/12. So they ought to invite two more. Utah and TCU? But Boise State wishes they'd held off on that MWC invite...

They should move Oklahoma into the North either way. A Big 12 championship game between Texas and the winner of K-State and Iowa State doesn't seem that big a draw.

4
by Anonymous6789 (not verified) :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 9:55pm

You can not have championship game in 10 team conference.

5
by Anonymous willie gault (not verified) :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 9:56pm

obviously You can not have *a* championship game in a 10 team conference.

25
by UTchamps (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:45am

why not?

27
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:53am

The rules require 12 teams in order for a conference to be allowed to have a championship game.

6
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 06/14/2010 - 10:24pm

You didn't have to be a world-class poker player to suspect that Texas was using the Pac 10 to put the screws to everyone else. It helped that ESPN feared what FOX would drive the price to for a Pac 16 deal. I wonder if the Presidents in Manhattan, Columbia, Lawrence and Ames have to raise their hand, to get permission from Austin, before going to the bathroom.

8
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:59am

It is notable that the suits at ESPN were working quietly with the suits at The Big 12, to stuff enough cash into the Longhorns' pockets, in order to keep the conference together, while the reporters at ESPN were asserting that the breakup of the conference was a sure thing.

If ESPN told me that the ocean was wet, I'd dip my toe in before believing it.

9
by tuluse :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:06am

Man. I know ESPN has to pay for broadcast rights, but this takes conflict of interest to a whole new level.

10
by Robbie (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:23am

US College sport is nuts. I'm not against it - I'd be a massive fan if I was in the States, even for a short while - but it's nuts. It's much more nuts than cricket. It's much more nuts than a drawn game (a draw is a result, just like 'no' can be an answer).

Who wins college football in a year, is my underlying question. I see how one team wins more than others, but there doesn't seem to be any kind of satisfying algorithm for actually winning. Is it a sort of general statistical consensus?

Note: I know I know next to nothing about this. I do not pretend I might not have misunderstood everything, as per usual under almost all circumstances. Until told better, I choose to find the system: quaint, romantic and comical.

13
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:27am

It's more than just nuts, when it comes to football. You have a multibillion dollar sports/broadcast industry, where the management retains the right to negotiate their compensation in a competitive environment which is not affected by collusion. Meanwhile, the labor force is compelled to negotiate with a cartel which fixes compensation at a relative pittance, compared to similar industries. And the labor force performs it's role at non-trivial risk to health.

19
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:54am

"Meanwhile, the labor force is compelled to negotiate with a cartel which fixes compensation at a relative pittance, compared to similar industries. And the labor force performs it's role at non-trivial risk to health."

At a pittance? A free degree isn't a pittance, even when you compare it to other industries (like Minor League baseball, where you make about $15K a year, and have to pay room and board)

20
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:10am

Please identify the minor league managers who receive compensation in the area of Urban Meyer, Mack Brown, and Nick Saban.

23
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:43am

Football coaches aren't baseball managers. They're managers, GMs, and heads of scouting all combined, and they're managing a team that's what, five times larger than a minor league team. Take that into consideration, and look at what small-school coaches get paid, and it's pretty cheap compared to professional sports.

Your argument is pretty good for, say, the top 20-30 teams or so (although a little overblown - college football still makes a pittance on a per-team basis compared to the NFL) but for the other 100 teams, it doesn't hold water. There, the players get paid even though in a lot of cases the teams don't actually make money.

The problem in college football is really the fact that income for the top 20-30 teams or so has really exploded, but for the remaining teams it's growing much slower. If you took the top, say, 5 or 6 teams from each of the BCS conferences and put them into some new college sports league, with revenue sharing, etc., you'd probably find that players would start getting a reasonable stipend and better compensation pretty quickly.

You keep describing the NCAA as a cartel that's hoarding money. Where's the money going? Who's getting inordinately rich? Not the coaches - higher priced coaches bring in more money. Not the ADs - ADs are paid basically proportionately to the size of the department.

It's simple: you're saying that students aren't getting compensated fairly. Well, they all basically get compensated the same, and some schools are losing money on football whereas others are making boatloads. So where's the excess money going?

Take a look at, say, Indiana vs. Ohio State. OSU's athletic department was $89M in 2004-2005. Indiana's was $38M. Indiana spent $7M on salaries, $7M on support staff. OSU spent $13M and $10M. That's proportional, so that's not the issue. Student aid was $10M at OSU vs. $7M at Indiana - so like I said, compensation is roughly flat. Travel expenses? Roughly proportional. Same with medical, game expenses, etc. So again - where was the money going?

Answer? Facilities. In 2004, Indiana spent $2M on facilities. OSU spent $26M. There's your answer. The excess money teams are making off of the profit from not compensating players proportionately? It's not going to coaches, or ADs. It's going to facilities.

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:27pm

I'm not the one who initially tried to compare an enterprise which brings in revenue similar to a minor league baseball team which pays players less than 20k a year, to an enterprise which brings in revenue similar to what Florida's football program does.

I wasn't arguing that Tim Tebow should be paid a similar annual sum to Peyton Manning, nor was I arguing that the disparity between management compensation and labor compensation at Wyoming was as large as it is at Florida. However, I don't think it really mitigates things to note that the roughly 2500 players at the top thirty schools are more grossly undercompensated than those roughly 5000 players at schools 31-90. Nor do I think football players have any more responsibility to provide very taxing labor, compared to coaches, ADs, and Presidents, to build facilities for other students.

Should a cartel fix labor costs in college football? Well, if it should, then let us also have the cartel fix salaries for coaches, ADs, and Presidents.

55
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:44pm

However, I don't think it really mitigates things to note that the roughly 2500 players at the top thirty schools are more grossly undercompensated than those roughly 5000 players at schools 31-90.

"More grossly undercompensated"? At the lower tier schools, they can't be undercompensated. The schools lose money on football. So that can't be 'undercompensated,' that's got to be 'overcompensated.' So if one set of players appears to be overcompensated, and one appears to be undercompensated, you can look and see where the excess money is going to. That's the point.

have any more responsibility to provide very taxing labor, compared to coaches, ADs, and Presidents, to build facilities for other students

What makes you think they're building the facilities for other students? In general, they're building facilities for themselves. It's not the 'other sports' facilities that suck up millions and millions - it's the football training facilities and stadium, and they use those facilities. There's a reason why small-school players gain weight quickly when they hit the NFL - because the training facilities there are a joke compared to the major schools.

And considering that the major players choose to go to the major schools pretty much exactly for that reason, it's hard to not count the facilities as non-monetary compensation. Which means, by extension, that they are being paid representatively.

If they didn't want the training facilities, they would've had to work much less hard for similar benefit at smaller schools.

and Presidents.

Heck, it should've also fixed the salaries for the professors at the school as well. And the secretaries! C'mon, kill the rhetoric. Absolutely zero dollars of the president of a school's salary comes from the football team. Could the football team boost a president's salary in some non-direct way? Yes, sure, but fixing a school's president's salary could not possibly result in any benefit for the football players without spreading it out to the rest of the school.

I just don't see the huge problem. Fixed low salaries with varying non-monetary benefits early in someone's career, where the employer gets apparently huge benefits from it? I believe that's called 'graduate school' or 'internships.'

58
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:05pm

Pat, that's the problem with cartels fixing compensation; people aren't compensated for what they are delivering. Instead of you or I or anyone else opining as to what people are worth, why not have people simply negotiating their compensatio, absent the cartel?

If you don't think the nonfootball facilities at many universities are funded by the football program, you are in error.

Where employers and schools are colluding to prevent grad students and interns from negotiating their compensation, that should end also.

65
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:42pm

If you don't think the nonfootball facilities at many universities are funded by the football program, you are in error.

Nonfootball facility costs are basically flat with football revenue. Which means they're not funded by the football program.

Where employers and schools are colluding to prevent grad students and interns from negotiating their compensation, that should end also.

My point is that you're assuming that the NCAA's restrictions are in any way, well, restrictive. Grad student and interns salaries are crap because, well, they have no negotiating power. It's exactly the same. Suppose you remove the NCAA restrictions. Would colleges start paying the players? Why the hell would they? They could leave the NCAA any time they wanted - the NCAA no longer holds the TV contracts, and several schools have their own.

How, exactly could players start getting compensated? By refusing to play? Do you really believe that if some college football players refused to play - thus forfeiting their scholarship - that no one else at the University would come along and say "sure, I'll play for a free education, room, board, lots of travel free, and a heck of a lot of fun"? Why wouldn't they? They used to do it before they got even a free education - and guess what? Back then, it was deadly.

My point is that I don't believe that the NCAA's restrictions are anything other than the codification of natural behavior. Universities don't have to collude to restrict graduate RA's salaries. They know that supply vastly exceeds demand, and they just have to offer enough for the students to get by. Ditto with internships. And ditto with college football.

67
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:48pm

Yes, Pat, absent the codification, some school would have paid Vince Young, because they would have found value in having Vince Young play for them, compared to someone they could have had for free.

74
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:41pm

That's the part I simply don't agree with. Young would only be there a few years. Paying someone to play in addition to the scholarship sets a precedent that would be there forever. The marginal cost to the school is simply nowhere near worth it.

76
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:10pm

Your argument seems to be that colleges wouldn't pay players because they would just leave for the NFL in a few years anyway, but then why do NFL teams pay free agents who might leave in a few years ?

Don't you think if Vince Young or anyone else were being compensated fairly for playing football they might actually be more inclined to stay in school for four years and get their degree ? Players leave school early for the NBA or NFL when they perceive they can no longer risk finishing their degree. That is to say that when the money they are forfeiting by staying in college times the injury risk reaches an amount they are uncomfortable with. Not every player makes a decision you may agree with, perhaps some are more risk averse than others, perhaps some over-estimate their worth at the pro level, but all of them are performing the same calculation. I can make X dollars as a pro, and if I stay in school there is y% chance of getting hurt, etc. and never collecting X or only getting 25% of X, can I afford that ? If colleges paid players commensurate with their value that changes the whole equation. Suddenly, you aren't sacrificing as much to stay in school, so more players would. It's that simple, and that's why colleges would do it. If Adrian Peterson makes my football team good and that makes me money, then I'd be willing to pay Peterson something to make sure I got all four years from him.

I also think you would see colleges stipulate in the player contracts that they couldn't leave for the pros until they either a) graduated or b) used all of their eligibility.

The comparison to grad students is ludicrous. A star college football player has unique skills that are highly valued in the world and make his services worth millions of dollars. Forcing that player to play for compensation that, for many of them, is meaningless to them, is wrong. Sure there are lots of replacement level college players for whom a free college education represents over-compensation, but why should the superstars be forced to accept woeful under-compensation for to make up for the over-compensation that the scrubs receive ?

80
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:36pm

but then why do NFL teams pay free agents who might leave in a few years ?

"Might" versus "will."

Don't you think if Vince Young or anyone else were being compensated fairly for playing football they might actually be more inclined to stay in school for four years and get their degree ?

Hell no. No way. Still an order of magnitude difference in terms of the amount of money Texas could pay versus the NFL. The payroll of an NFL team exceeds the entire athletic department of even the largest college football team. Add in injury risk, and money would never affect anything.

The main people it would affect are the people who leave school for the NFL due to other issues (family concerns with money, etc.).

The comparison to grad students is ludicrous. A star college football player has unique skills that are highly valued in the world and make his services worth millions of dollars.

1) You're assuming that a kid entering college football is the same thing as a kid exiting college football. This is flat out false. They're kids, and not fully grown yet. Highly recruited athletes for college are not the same as highly valued college football players.

2) You're assuming that the college *itself* adds no value to the kid. That part is also wrong.

but why should the superstars be forced to accept woeful under-compensation for to make up for the over-compensation that the scrubs receive ?

1) Because the superstars are getting a heckuva lot more promotion from the school than the scrubs are. Again, non-monetary value.

2) Good fraction of the time, the superstars aren't known out of high school. Kids haven't developed enough yet. So they accept that compensation because they don't know if they'll be a scrub or a star. How could you possibly get fair compensation? You can't possibly have a fair market. You've only got between 2-4 years. Best you could do is compensate starters more than backups - but that doesn't even really work.

How would it work? I really have no idea what anyone else is suggesting. Do you mandate increased compensation for the kids? How is mandated compensation any different than the current situation?

84
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 5:50pm

I shouldn't have said 'might' for all intents and purposes it is 'will'. A college only controls a player's rights while he has eligibility, an NFL team only controls the player while under contract. How many NFL contracts exceed 4 years ? When the contract is up, even if the player re-signs, he has the opportunity to go elsewhere and there is no certainty that he will re-sign when the initial contract is signed. There really isn't much of a difference, most NFL teams control most of their players for less than 4 years, how is this different from a college ?

Yes, if a player can be drafted in the Top 5, a college is not likely to be able to compensate that player enough to keep them, but what about everyone else ? Not every underclassmen is a Top 5 draft pick, and as you say, some of them are forced to try the NFL for financial reasons, not because it is the best time to from a developmental standpoint. So, those are very people who are harmed the MOST by the current state of affairs. It's the guy who leaves early because he has to and goes in the 4th round. If he was making $100k as a starter in a D-I program maybe he finishes his 4 years, gets his degree and ends up and even higher draft pick.

For many top athletes college probably does have no value. The current system forces players to play college football, forces them to accept as compensation a college scholarship which may have little or no value to them, forces them to assume all of the injury risk and leaves the colleges and coaches with all the profits. Participation is this system is effectively mandatory. I think the American Revolution was about stuff like this.

I forgot that no one knew who LeBron was coming out of high school, or Kobe for that matter. The fact is the superstars often aren't known coming out of college either. The kids accept the compensation because THEY HAVE NO CHOICE, that's the whole point. If they had a choice, many of them would not opt for college. Look at baseball, kids get drafted out of high school, some go to college, some go to the minors, but the KID and his family get to decide. That's really all this is about.

86
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 6:33pm

How many NFL contracts exceed 4 years ?

For the highest end guys? All of them.

Look at baseball, kids get drafted out of high school, some go to college, some go to the minors but the KID and his family get to decide.

This isn't a criticism of compensation in college football. It's a criticism of the NFL's draft eligibility. Which came from agreements with the NCAA, mind you. But you're taking aim at the wrong thing.

Now, if there were long rants on here from people saying "the NCAA and NFL cartel are forcing kids to go through college" ... well, I'd agree with you. I also don't think that much would change if that requirement were lifted, because I think the success rate of kids coming out of high school would be next-to-zero.

I forgot that no one knew who LeBron was coming out of high school, or Kobe for that matter.

Basketball is a lot different than football. There are a few spots in football where if you're a certain physical specimen, you're almost guaranteed to succeed (LT comes to mind) but not many. But basketball is very much a 'physical specimen' sport.

94
by An Onimous (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 11:05pm

Exactly. Steve Nash was the lowest drafted player to ever win an MVP award in the NBA... and he was taken fifteenth overall! In the NFL, the MVP has gone to guys taken 82nd overall (Montana), 98th overall (Gannon), 196th (Terrell Davis), 199th (Tom Brady), and even a guy who was never drafted in the first place (Warner). The scouting efficiency in basketball is on a completely different level compared to the NFL.

96
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 5:48am

I imagine the success rate of kids going straight from high school to the NFL would indeed be zero as things currently stand. There would have to be some kind of minor league for these players, be it one run by the NFL, whether through franchise "youth teams" or "reserve teams" (the latter essentially amounting to an expanded practice squad) as per the European soccer model, or through an independent minor league (the UFL?) deciding that its lower standard made these players a viable option. Even then, there's no guarantee it would produce many viable NFLers, but that's the way it would have to work for there to be any chance.

100
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 4:12pm

Exactly. Except you have to remember: the entire point of creating this is so that there's an option other than going to college for these kids. College football already doesn't pay that bad - in terms of room and board, stipends, travel benefits, and scholarships, it's ~$50K or so a year. That's not even considering the medical insurance that they get, too.

And now the problem is - who's going to create this minor league full of 18-year old players that cost ~$100K or more (salary, overhead, etc), when the public has no vested interest in the teams?

No one. It'd lose vast amounts of money, and wouldn't benefit the NFL significantly over the system that already currently exists.

105
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 8:58pm

Yeah, that's the problem. Cleaning up college sports requires de-professionalizing football and basketball, and doing that would cost the pro leagues money, and vastly reduce college athletic revenues. No one will do this, even though it clearly should be done.

88
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:59pm

Or maybe that fourth-round pick simply hangs around for another season to collect another $100K and doesn't improve at all, and why should he? He's bringing in six figures at an age when a lot of people struggle to make five. There will be plenty of time to improve later. Right now, it's time to focus on being BMOC and spending money on the ladies. (Give an average 20-year-old $100K, and what do you think will happen? Now give it to an average 20-year-old who's never had to worry about rules as long as he produces on the field. I'm sure I would have put that kind of money to terrible use at that age.)

Of course, that's only if he's starting at one of the top I-A football schools. (D-I is the wrong term to use here: there are a number of I-AA programs that don't even offer athletic scholarships and would have no way to pay players.) A USC (insert joke here) or a Nebraska or a Florida wouldn't have to worry much about the money to pay a competitive team of players, but an Indiana or a Mississippi State or a Washington might, and a Louisiana-Lafayette or a North Texas or a Hawaii could have real problems.

And that might be one of the big problems with paying football players. Right now, there is an illusion of balance within I-A football, although it's not a good one: there are many schools that will never come close to fielding a team with a chance to win a national championship, and several may struggle even to compete at I-A. (It's not nearly as bad as D-I basketball, though. Too many schools who can barely field a team in other sports chase the dream of an NCAA tournament payoff, even though that payoff won't be nearly enough to fix their problems.) Through the decades, continuous conference expansion has widened the gap between the schools with the most and the schools with the least, which of course has been a key factor in the expansion of these conferences.

If there is an attempt to pay players commensurate with their abilities, there will eventually be no more illusion. Is this a bad thing? Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe it would cause the top 20-30 schools to split off and form their own "league" ... the next 20-30 might branch out as well, and you could end up with something more like minor-league baseball or hockey. (Four-year contracts? Colleges would love them, players would learn to hate them. I doubt they would be structured to favor the players.) Or maybe I-A would look more like football in the '70s.

If there is no attempt to pay players, well, you have the current system with all of its issues. (Hundreds of unqualified "students" shoehorned into schools through which they coast while they stay and eat for free ... players locked into long-term commitments with no easy way to escape, knowing that the commitment can be dropped by the school pretty much at will ... schools carefully observing every rule to ensure they escape the NCAA's watchful eye and then losing to schools who flaunt the rules with impunity ...)

79
by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:34pm

"Paying someone to play in addition to the scholarship sets a precedent that would be there forever."

I hate to tell you this, but that pandora's box was already opened a long time ago. Players have been getting paid since before SMU got the death penalty. Someone must obviously think it's worthwhile to pay them.

24
by Jake G (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:45am

Hey smart guy, he was talking about the players. Getting a 100,000 dollar education is nothing to sneeze at. Not every college athlete is Vince Young. For every Vince Young that is under compensated there are 60 other guys that are over compensated.

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:03pm

Hey, smart guy, I don't care that he is talking about the players solely. I'm talking about what management receives, because they can negotiate their compensation in an environment where a cartel is not placing a ceiling on compensation, compared to the relative pittance the laborers receive, due to the fact that their compensation is fixed by a cartel. In 1967, Curt Flood was not getting a salary to sneeze at, unless you compared it to the revenue that his labor, along with the other players', was generating.

33
by Sophandros :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:20pm

Let's say that you go to, say, an SEC school not named Vanderbilt and you are a native of that state.

1) You're not getting a $100,000 education.
2) The school is making MILLIONS off of your work.
3) The school only cares if your eligible to play for 4 years, not whether you graduate. Football takes up a lot of time, so your advisors will tell you to take a lighter load in the fall. Bottom line, you are not likely to have your degree in four years because of your athletic obligation.

Let's stop looking at big time college sports through rosy colored glasses and see it for what it really is.

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

51
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:33pm

If the players were being overcompensated the schools wouldn't be so terrified of having to compensate them at market rates. It is absolutely the foundation of their business model.

It is completely unamerican the way college football currently treats its players (and I very very rarely use that phrase).

57
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:00pm

If the players were being overcompensated the schools wouldn't be so terrified of having to compensate them at market rates.

Where does this "terrified" bit come from? I don't get it. I doubt they're terrified. I don't think it would make the slightest bit of difference to them.

Suppose the NCAA goes away tomorrow, and colleges are allowed to pay players. What happens? Would they all pay them? Hell no. Some of them already lose money on scholarship aid. So they definitely wouldn't. Would those kids go elsewhere? Well, they weren't wanted at the larger schools before when they were being paid zilch, so I doubt they'd be wanted if they demanded money.

The coaches and ADs are being paid proportionately, so the only place the money could come from would be from facilities. So now you're talking about a situation where players choose between short term compensation with crappy facilities and no compensation with better facilities. I can't imagine many young kids taking that option - some would, of course, since some have more immediate concerns than a longer view.

But more importantly: I can't imagine any schools choosing that. The place where I disagree with you and others here is that I don't believe that the players themselves add significant value. USC could go into the student body, say "hey, I need guys to field a team" before the season and probably bring in 80-90% of the revenue that they normally bring in.

77
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:27pm

A couple of items:

1) you are ignoring that while the sticker price on a 4 year degree from say Vanderbilt or Duke might be $100k, the actual marginal cost to the school is far less. It really doesn't cost the school much to stick an extra person in classes that would exist anyway, eat at cafeterias that would exist anyway and live in dorms that would exist anyway. You could argue opportunity cost, that they could give that slot to someone paying tuition, but I don't think it is really an either or scenario, and how many students pay full price anyway ?

2) the current system essentially creates a compensation floor for football players. You can certainly have non-scholarship players on your team, but if you want to be competitive that won't get you far, but does the NCAA allow half or partial scholarships ? My point is that I believe(someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that there is an artificial "binary" nature to the compensation that college football players receive. It's full ride or nothing. If you switched to cash, colleges would be able to differentiate much more effectively among various players.

89
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:03pm

There is no such restriction in other sports; in fact, it's common in some of the non-revenue sports to take the money for, say, three "full-ride" scholarships and distribute among eight or nine players.

But football seems to be different, and I believe you are correct. In I-A football, you get a full scholarship or you are a walk-on. Scholarships can't be split. (I guess that makes sense; otherwise, Nick Saban would probably have 200 players on scholarship.)

101
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 4:22pm

1) you are ignoring that while the sticker price on a 4 year degree from say Vanderbilt or Duke might be $100k, the actual marginal cost to the school is far less.

Number of scholarships: 85
Total cost for Ohio State athletic department, 2004-2005: $1.9M
Total cost/scholarship: ~$23,000.

There is no "marginal cost." The athletic department transfers money to the rest of the university equal to the cost of the student's tuition. Universities do have separate budgets, after all.

and how many students pay full price anyway ?

From the point of view of the university, the majority. Typically 40% or so have some sort of scholarship funded by the university.

52
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:35pm

it is a pittance compare to what they would get if they could freely negotiate. The whole NCAA business model is based on underpriced labor.

90
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:08pm

Well, it's only a pittance compared to a system where there would be a significantly greater amount of money available, a willingness by the "owners" to pay it, and the ability to negotiate freely (which itself doesn't really exist in pro sports).

It's entirely possible that instead of something like 10,000 jobs that give you tuition, room and board at the I-A level, there could be 4,000 jobs that pay between $10K and $200K, 2,000 jobs that pay between $1K and $10K, and 4,000 jobs that don't pay anything at all.

Market forces almost always operate in both directions, particularly in sports. Lifting the artificial cap on student-athlete compensation doesn't mean there will be a windfall of money to the players ... in all likelihood, there would be a windfall for the best of the best, something approaching what they had in the past for the middle of the pack, and not much left for the rest.

102
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 8:42pm

Yup. As per my username, I'm a huge Orange fan. But in a sane universe, the NBA and NFL would run real, full-fledged developmental leagues that take kids just out of high school, and college football and basketball would be about on the same level, relative to the pros, as college baseball and college hockey.

14
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:31am

It helps if you realize that college football isn't a sport, and the only people interested in making it into a sport are a relatively small number of fans. They cobbled together a system to kinda sorta make it act like a sport, and sortof legitimized the chest-thumping that a few teams do, but really... not a sport, and most people don't really mind. All they really care about, primarily, is watching or going to see their college play.

17
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:46am

Going to watch (into their living rooms, primarily) their colleges do what, exactly?

21
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:15am

Play a football game. What did you think they were doing, having tea?

That doesn't make it a sport - at least, not an organized sport. Colleges were playing football way before sports got even the least bit organized. Most fans who go to games really don't pay attention to league standings, or the polls, etc. All they care about is going to see their college play another college.

That's what I mean when I say it's not a sport. Single games are all the majority of fans really care about. Very few care about where their team stands with respect to other teams - because, of course, the vast majority of teams just don't matter.

26
by Jake G (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:48am

HUH ?

32
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:10pm

Yes, we have now entered a realm of rhetoric in which a football game, for which admission is being charged, and more importantly, broadcast rights are being sold for billions, is not to be considered a sport. At the same time, we have been helpfully instructed that it is not a tea party, either.

47
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:23pm

Can you call something a sport when it's really just a series of exhibition games? That's the point. College football fans don't really care about the concept of league play or any real structure. They just care about the actual games themselves. The implications are fairly unimportant.

50
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:32pm

Yeah, the conference championship banners hanging all over the country are just there to give signmakers some work. That's why millions of fans have heated debates about the relative quality of conferences, and why "SEC" chants are heard whenever the SEC is winning a BCS game.

62
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:23pm

Yeah, the conference championship banners hanging all over the country are just there to give signmakers some work.

No, they're there for pride. Same reason there's a Little Brown Jug, or any of the other random trophies handed out for winning a single game. What other sport hands out trophies for winning random games in the middle of the season? There are something like one hundred college football trophies for individual games, and that's not counting the bowl games at all.

Really, you're just proving my point with that comment: there are trophies, banners, etc. in college football for just about anything. There's a trophy for the winner of the Eastern/Western/Central Michigan games. There's a trophy for the winner of Florida/Florida State/Miami games. Heck, there's a trophy for the best Division I football team in the state of Utah, and that includes an FCS team!

Why are there so many? Because a lot of people care about the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan game nearly as much as they care about either school winning the Big Ten. Heck, a lot of Ohio State fans have stated they care more about beating Michigan than winning the Big Ten.

64
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:30pm

Now you are telling me that they don't care about something that they take pride in. Got it.

66
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:43pm

If you take pride in everything, you take pride in nothing.

71
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:08pm

I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, in the context of what we are discussing.

73
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:21pm

It means exactly what it says it means. If winning a game is as important as winning a conference, as important as winning a championship - the conference and championships clearly mean next-to-nothing. You only win them by winning a game anyway.

75
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:44pm

Yes, Pat. Clearly.

78
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:32pm

So, the NFL isn't a sport either. Because if the Eagles suck, Eagles fans will still be very satisfied if they beat the crap out of Dallas twice. And who care who wins the NFC East if it's not the Birds, or for that matter the Super Bowl. Ipso fatso, not a sport. Ironically, I think by this measure figure skating and synchronized swimming qualify as true sports since I don't care a whit about the individuals, but maybe am curious who wins the gold medal(only a little curious).

81
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:41pm

If you think any Eagles fan cares as much about beating Dallas as winning the NFC East or a Super Bowl... you're insane.

And besides, that's "if the Eagles suck." Which already assumes you are axing the Super Bowl out of the question. The difference in college football is that an Ohio State fan would still be pissed at the team if they lost to Michigan - even if they won the Big Ten. Some of them even if they won the NC.

It's even more obvious for the huge numbers of fans who aren't perennial contenders. Iowa State fans would consider a victory over Iowa the most successful season they could imagine. Ask them "so, who's in the running for the national championship?" or "how far back is Iowa State in the Big 12 North standings?" and most of them will stare at you blankly.

85
by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 5:58pm

Any real college football fan would have some idea who was in the running for the national championship, just like any real baseball fan would know who was in the playoffs even if his favorite team was the Pirates and they hadn't smelled the playoffs in 2 decades. I also suspect by the end of the year even die hard Pirates fans don't give a crap if the Buccos are 25 or 30 games out of first.

I think you are talking about very casual fans, and yes perhaps college athletics have more casual fans because even people who aren't normally sports fans maybe pay a little attention to their alma mater. But just because the audience for a homecoming game or a rivalry game might be double for an "ordinary" game doesn't make college football less of a sport. That's just stupid. I don't see how who or how many people watch an event has anything to do with it being defined as a sport, it's irrelevant.

87
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 6:38pm

I think you are talking about very casual fans, and yes perhaps college athletics have more casual fans because even people who aren't normally sports fans maybe pay a little attention to their alma mater.

Um. Yeah, that's why I started this whole thing off by saying "the vast majority of college football fans."

I don't see how who or how many people watch an event has anything to do with it being defined as a sport, it's irrelevant.

I, uh, never suggested that. What I said was that because the majority of college football fans don't care about the structure, only the game, it's not a sport.

Maybe the problem is that saying "not a sport" offends people or something. Maybe "college football is not a league sport" would be better? It's true that CFB is something pretty unique in modern times, but that's because it's holding on to its roots from 100 years ago.

97
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 6:27am

Actually, Pat, the comparison you are looking for is the one Robbie (not verified) made way back up at the start of this sub-thread at comment #10 - test match cricket. There is no over-arching championship (though there are official public rankings). The scheduling structure, insofar as there is one, is not understood (or in some cases known to exist) by even many relatively hardcore fans - and within its constraints teams schedule almost exclusively for financial benefit, which is why Bangladesh have never toured their nearest neighbour in ten years as a test match nation. A variety of individual trophies (the Ashes, the Wisden Trophy, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, etc.) are awarded to the victors of a given series between particular teams (England-Australia, England-West Indies and Australia-India, respectively, in the above cases) and in many cases (most notably England fans and the Ashes) those fans are happy if they hold that trophy and unhappy if they don't, almost to the exclusion of other results. There are vast disparities of class between some test nations and others (England have a 100% all time winning record against Bangladesh, in a sport that produces more drawn games than just about any other) and test teams frequently play against sides from lower categories of cricket, such as regional teams. The huge difference, I suppose, is probably the ratio of casual to non-casual fans. A game that lasts for five days and stops any time it rains or gets a bit dark or indeed because it's time for afternoon tea is probably not one designed for casual fandom among any but the acutely hung-over (which is how I first got into it, of course . . .)

Thing is, I'm pretty sure most people would still class test cricket as a sport - and indeed as an organised sport (not to mention a fairly lucrative professional one whose leading practitioners are well compensated). I understand the point you're getting at, but I think something like "not a league sport" or "not primarily a championship sport" is probably a more accurate way of putting it.

98
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:57am

I figured there had to be a similar example out there - I just knew it wasn't all that well-known in the US.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure most people would still class test cricket as a sport

Yeah, there's just no good name for stuff like this. Most people when they look at college football, especially if they're not a fan of a team, are just like "WTF, what do you mean you don't have a playoff, and your rankings are some weird combination of polls and stats? How do you figure out who's the best?" It's just difficult to explain to people that most fans don't care who's the best. Well, they do, just... not nearly as much as in other sports. I mean, it's fun to argue about who "should be" the champion and such, but in order to have a system that fans of "league sports" would recognize as familiar, it'd require such a massive overhaul that college football fans would never want it.

108
by Robbie (not verified) :: Fri, 06/18/2010 - 6:33am

Oops. Sorry Mr Shush - I've just re-made some of your comments a couple of posts lower down.

107
by Robbie (not verified) :: Fri, 06/18/2010 - 6:27am

Here we start to have it. It's obviously a sport; but it has a nutso structure.

The more I look at it, the closer it looks to test cricket. There's no kind of rational league for this - though there are rankings. Each series played between, say, India and England, has a separate trophy. Test cricket fans care massively more about whether they've beaten an old rival than about whether they're high in the rankings. England vs Australia is massive in both countries.

Also, football fans, the games are very similar experiences to cricket: there aren't that many a year, and so they're precious. Going to them is a sort of ritualistic affair, where you know who you go with, where you sit, what you take to eat, what you drink, what you did in other years, and so on. And the whole ritual takes a day, basically.

I'm a massive fan of both. Does that show?

(My word capcha thing is 'taxpayers' and 'mommies' which sounds like a subliminal attempt at a Republican dogwhistle.

11
by Sam P (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 7:09am

Some of these conferences are just too large, geographically. If Texas had joined the Pac-10, almost half its conference away games would have been about 2000 miles away. It's not only distance, its two time zones away from almost all the other schools in the conference. Hawaii is screwed no matter which conference it joins. And what the heck is Louisiana Tech doing in the WAC? Not to mention the Sunbelts...

103
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 8:46pm

Louisiana Tech and UTEP should clearly switch conferences.

The Sun Belt is the 'we moved up to I-A FBS, but couldn't get a real conference to take us' conference.

15
by ChaosOnion (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:37am

Can we now stop using "tradition" as an argument for anything related to NCAA football?

92
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:18pm

Tradition has never won those battles, not in any aspect of college football. The Missouri Valley, Mountain States, Pacific Coast, Western ... all conferences that disappeared or changed dramatically over time, all for similar reasons. This is just more of the same.

Some people think of football as they remember it as "tradition", and I suppose that's reasonable, but most people probably don't remember far enough back to realize that what they've considered to be tradition is just someone else's wholesale change.

16
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 8:40am

I don't think the conference scrambling is done. The Pac-11 probably still wants 12 teams. I would imagine so does the Big 12. So who moves up to the big boys? BYU, Utah, TCU, Memphis, and Houston seem the most logical candidates. Other remote possibilities - Hawaii, SMU, Rice? What a mess.

18
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:01am

If Utah is brought into a conference with automatic qualifier status, while BYU is not, a certain powerful Senator's office my get overloaded with calls from irate constituents, and spur him to cause trouble.

29
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 11:30am

The MWC was already well-positioned to get an autoberth in 2012. With Boise State, it's basically a foregone conclusion unless Utah, BYU, Boise State, and TCU all just magically start sucking horribly for the next two years.

Autoberths aren't decided by humans (for the most part). It's just math. BCS standing of top team, average computer ranking of all teams, and number of teams in the top 25. With Boise State added, the MWC just easily leapfrogged at least the Big East, and possibly more. The ranking period is 2008-2011, and the top MWC team finished 2nd and 4th, and all 4 of the teams I mentioned above finished in the top 25 those two years (I think - I'm substituting final AP rankings since post-bowl BCS rankings don't really exist, so there could be some shuffle). That already puts them well above the Big East (#17, #8), and above the ACC (#10, #15). By average computer ranking, they should be above the ACC and the Big 12, and maybe the Big 10, and with 4 average teams in the Top 25, they're well-above the "more or equal to 50% of the conference with the most top 25 teams" at this point

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:35pm

Presumably, it is humans who choose what math to employ. It'll be ibteresting to see what happens to the numbers if Utah goes to the Pac 10. From a business perspective, which must account for potential government action, I think a college football business which has eight conferences of 12 teams, covering all regions of the country, is a better model than four or five 16 team superconferences, and then a mish-mash.

42
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:58pm

Nope, it's in the BCS agreement between the conferences, and has been there since its inception. If they pass, they're the seventh. If they don't, an exception can be made to allow them in, but there is no exception to keep them out. There are a maximum of 7 autoberths, so once the MWC is in, it's harder for another conference to come in (one has to go out first, and the 'remove autoberth' is not automatic).

It'll be ibteresting to see what happens to the numbers if Utah goes to the Pac 10.

Much dicier. Utah's a perennially good team, which pushes their statistical ranking up, and that's the only marginal part of it. Also depends on where BYU fell in 2008. If they've only got 2 in the top 25 in 2008 and 3 in 2009, then they're borderline against the Big East again.

The other members of the MWC would be well-pressed to throw whatever considerations to Utah that they can. As mentioned above it's a lot harder to lose the autoberth once you've got it.

I think a college football business which has eight conferences of 12 teams, covering all regions of the country, is a better model than four or five 16 team superconferences, and then a mish-mash.

Well, I'm wondering what you did with the other 24 teams, actually. But both of them suck. You just can't have a sane league with 120 teams, massive talent disparity, and 12 games. It doesn't work. And it actually gets worse if you spread the talent thinly among the conferences, because conferences aren't the best way to connect a league with few games.

Now, if you took 4 16 team superconferences, and axed the rest into another split (FBS-1 and FBS-2 or something), that's a much, much healthier league.

Also depends on what you mean: you're saying 'business' and 'model.' From a business model point of view, the 4 or 5 16-team superconferences are obviously better, provided the coalescing of conferences sloughs off teams like Iowa State, Kansas, etc., which are net money losers from a football perspective. From a competitive standpoint, I'm not sure.

44
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:14pm

Yes, and it is human beings who formed a BCS agreement. A business model has to account for potential government intervention, which was my original point about Utah. If Utah leaves for the Pac 10, and thus the MWC, and BYU, lose the chance for auto qualification, there's a powerful Republican Senator from Utah, who has been known to form alliances with powerful Democrats, who is going to get an earful from his constituents with BYU ties.

I agree that going past 100 teams is really problematic, due to the size of the talent pool. I also think a 64 team business model ulitimately won't be tolerated by Congress. Somewhere between 75 to 100 teams, covering every contiguous region of the country, is where the sweet spot probably is, and Congress will likely have to be involved in getting there.

68
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:56pm

I also think a 64 team business model ulitimately won't be tolerated by Congress.

I have no idea why you think this. I doubt I could list 64 schools that Congress would give a damn enough to do something about.

Somewhere between 75 to 100 teams, covering every contiguous region of the country, is where the sweet spot probably is,

It depends what you mean by 'sweet spot.' It's still not going to produce a fair determination of a victor, especially considering you've only got a handful of evenly matched (in the long term) teams.

70
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:05pm

Because powerful members of Congress are already complaining about some schools not being in auto qualified conferences, and removing any team from that status is likely going to make some Congressman's constituents really mad.

72
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:18pm

Doing anything makes some Congressman's constituents mad. If there was a major overhaul of college football proposed, they'd be flooded with people who hate it and people who support it. With ~50-ish teams, I can't imagine enough congressmen would be flooded with enough dislike to do anything about it.

None of the excluded schools are large enough, and seriously, if someone calls up a congressman and says "this proposal isn't fair, Troy doesn't have a chance at a national championship" - the guy's gonna laugh.

39
by dryheat :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:48pm

Oh....rankings be damned, if the Big East played the Mountain West in a series of games, like the old Big East/ACC shootout in basketball, I think the Big East would win 75% of the games. We seem to forget that while Utah and Boise State usually win a big out-of-conference game or two every year, the reason why they're in the national championship discussion some years is that they fatten up on the other bozos of the conference.

USC might beat Notre Dame and Michigan every year, but they also have to beat the Oregon and Arizona schools, Cal, etc. in order to get their zero or one-loss record to get in the conversation, which is a considerably harder intraconference schedule to successfully navigate than San Diego, UNLV, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado St, Air Force, etc.

45
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:19pm

We seem to forget that while Utah and Boise State usually win a big out-of-conference game or two every year,

The reason why they're in the national championship discussion is that they don't lose those games. And then they go to a bowl game, play a major opponent, and guess what they do? They win.

This isn't like Hawaii in 2007, who was put in the Sugar Bowl purely because of that 12-0 record, and definitely looked outmatched. At some point, you've got to start realizing that the Mountain West is actually a half-decent conference - especially now, when you've got 4 teams who could compete in any of the major BCS conferences.

USC might beat Notre Dame and Michigan every year, but they also have to beat the Oregon and Arizona schools, Cal, etc. in order to get their zero or one-loss record to get in the conversation,

Really? OK, so USC's got Oregon, Cal, and Arizona. It's also got Washington State and Washington, neither of whom have had a winning record in years. Now it has Colorado, who's been similarly dismal for years.

New Mexico's been a middle-of-the-road team for years (much like the Arizona schools - one of whom New Mexico -beat- two years ago), the Air Force Academy has similarly emerged as a middle of the road team. SDSU, Wyoming, UNLV, and Colo State are pretty bad, but now you're talking about 3 crappy teams in the PAC-10 versus 4 crappy teams in the MWC. Not that big a difference. The MWC is definitely a fairly top-heavy conference, but not that much more so than some others.

104
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 8:51pm

Oh....rankings be damned, if the Big East played the Mountain West in a series of games, like the old Big East/ACC shootout in basketball, I think the Big East would win 75% of the games.

True, but not for the reasons you're giving. It's true because even my Orange and Louisville would beat up on the bottom teams in the MWC. Cinci/TCU, Pitt/Utah, and WVU/BYU would be competitive... but UConn would trash Air Force, Rutgers would stomp Colorado State, the 'Ville beats Wyoming going away, and even in their first year post-GERG, my Orange wouldn't have any problems with San Diego State (though I wish that game would be played, as per my username).

106
by dryheat :: Thu, 06/17/2010 - 9:17am

Actually, that's the exact reason I'm giving. The MWC is top-heavy, and the top dogs go 7-0 or 6-1 against the weak sisters. Even in a theoretcial year where USC beats Ohio St and Georgia Tech, there's a significant chance they drop a conference game or two to Cal or Oregon St...even though those teams might be .500 or below. Florida can theoretically beat Oklahoma and West Virginia, but have tests against Georgia and Tennessee. The talent disparity (barring the private school in the SEC...and they're getting better) is much less top to bottom in the "major" conferences than the "mid-majors".

I don't mention it in every sentence of my posts, but I am also a Syracuse alum and fan.

91
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:10pm

The certain powerful Senator's office would also presumably be fielding calls explaining that it's rather difficult to find room for a school that does not wish to contest any events on a specific day of the week.

22
by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:23am

Surprisingly, I was actually right about something for once. Nebraska leaving didn't need to cause a Big 12 armageddon.

That said, it looks a lot like the Big 12 pretty much gave the whole store away to keep itself in existence. Not saying I blame them... you gotta do what you gotta do. But as long as we're proposing new names for conferences, I move that the Big 12 change its name to "Texas, etc". "Texas and the Whipping Boys" would work too. If the Missouris of the world thought they were second class citizens before, they haven't seen anything yet. The Big 12 will continue to exist, for now, but I have a feeling this isn't the end of its internal strife.

30
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 11:42am

Eh, I dunno. The Big 12 lost a member that contributed value (Nebraska) and a member that drained value (Colorado). To be honest, it's probably a wash - it's easy enough to say "ha ha, the Big 12 is Texas and a bunch of guys" but Oklahoma and Texas Tech are both top 25-ish programs.

The Big 12 always suffered from having poor structure: the South division was very healthy (sans Baylor) and the North division was Nebraska, Missouri, and uh, some other guys we'd rather not talk about. As a single 10-team conference they could easily be quite a bit stronger. Certainly Missouri's schedule could easily get a lot more lucrative for them in terms of fan draw.

To be honest, the conference that really lost out here is the PAC-10. Yay, they gained... Colorado. Great. Just what the PAC-10 needed: another whipping boy for USC!

34
by Sophandros :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:24pm

The Big XII lost half of its schools who have recently won a national championship in football...

-------------
Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

35
by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:26pm

Agreed on the Pac-10 re: Colorado. I wonder if they would have taken Colorado if they had known that Texas wasn't going to be part of the deal.

As far as the whipping boys comment goes, that was meant as much to be a statement about the future as about the present. Oklahoma can hold its own on the field (Texas Tech, sans Mike Leach, is probably not going to stay a Top 25 program IMO). But if it wasn't already clear who calls the shots in the Big 12, Texas just drove the point home. We now know that A) Texas decides what conference Texas plays in, B) Texas decides what conference Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech play in, and C) Texas decides whether the Big 12 lives or dies. Now, Texas has used this leverage to clear the road for a Longhorns TV network (at the expense of a Big 12 network, undoubtedly), which will widen the gap even further. And something tells me this won't be the last time Texas throws its weight around to get what it wants, at the expense of its "partners" in the Big 10/12.

That's what I mean by Texas and the whipping boys. It has very little to do with what actually happens on the field. Oklahoma can stand toe-to-toe with Texas on the field, but Oklahoma still jumps at the whim of Texas when it comes to the business of the conference. The new conference structure may very well lead to a better product on the field and make the conference healthier, but who gets the biggest piece of that pie?

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:42pm

Yeah, that is what really buries the football future of many Big 12 schools; the fact that a Longhorns Cable Network renders a Big 12 Network non-viable. The rest of the conference should wear a little Longhorns logo somewhere on their jerseys.

43
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:01pm

Are any other Big 12 schools attractive to other big conferences? (SEC, Big 10, Pac 10) It looks like Missouri wasn't and I can't imagine either Kansas school or ISU being courted. Oklahoma might be. That's probably about it though. OK State is a poor little sister to OU and the other Texas schools just lick UT's boots.

46
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:21pm

I am a little surprised that the Big 10 Network had so little interest in adding Kansas City and St. Louis as decent-sized markets where an in-state school would be a member, in states which are contiguous to the current Big 10 states. Perhaps academics is more of a factor than I thought.

54
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:42pm

I'm sure they would love to add St Louis and Kansas City. And adding Missou would definitely give them a legitimate ratings draw in those markets.

My thought is that perhaps splitting the pie into 13ths instead of 12ths would make it a net loss, even after the additional revenue from those 2 cities?

The problem with that logic is that if it's correct, than why give a bid to Nebraska, when the whole state only has 700,000 people in it?

56
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:57pm

Nebraska is not getting a full share.

59
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:05pm

I must have missed that. Got a link?

69
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 3:01pm

This story...

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5276551

....says that no pre-existing Big 10 school will see a reduction, while Nebraska is only guaranteed the 10 million they would have received from the Big 12.

82
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 4:43pm

Thanks. Somehow that part didn't sink in before.

I wonder if maybe Missou declined something simpilar? The big reason they're unhappy in the Big 12 is that they don't feel like an equal partner.

83
by JoeHova :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 5:21pm

It's worded poorly in that article but Nebraska will only be seeing a reduced share for a set period of time (Delany wouldn't disclose how long a period that would be during the press conference). They will eventually be getting a full 1/12th.

60
by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:08pm

I'm thinking that Missouri was intended to be a counter-balance in the event that Notre Dame joined, to get it back to an even number of teams. Or maybe a backup plan if Nebraska said no. In any case, I can't imagine that the whole plan all along was to just add Nebraska and stay put. Grand plans for Big Ten expansion have always started and ended with Notre Dame. If the plan was just to expand to 12, then adding Nebraska (or any other single school) is the equivalent of locking out Notre Dame. If that was the plan, it was a bad plan. In any case, we may never know what the full master scheme was, as it now appears that the Big 12 will not be disintegrating (yet).

61
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:14pm

We'll know in 3 or 4 years, or whenever the next round of TV contracts expire, and the horns start throwing their weight around again.

93
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 9:24pm

It's not a net loss: Missouri would also be bringing additional events to the network, which ends up increasing the size of the pie, and of course adding those markets means the BTN gets to charge the carriers a higher rate, which also means a bigger pie.

Nebraska may simply have had greater immediate interest. I don't know. I've not seen anything specific that said when (or if) they passed Missouri in the queue, and I doubt I will. It would be easy enough to spin anything out of the Big Ten so that Missouri is still waiting by the phone for the next round of expansion.

And that may be the only reason Missouri wasn't invited. The Big Ten wanted at least one so that they could host a football championship game; beyond that, they'd want to invite in pairs. Perhaps no one else is easily obtainable ... or perhaps the addition of Nebraska is meant to send a message to a certain pseudo-independent school that the Big Ten is serious about expansion and perhaps that certain school might want to rethink its current stance, particularly if it has not reversed its football fortunes by the time its current television contract comes up for renewal.

41
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:56pm

And in 5 years or 10 years or whatever, when someone else discovers a new reveunue stream, the horns will go sniffing around again. The Big 12 may not be dissolving now, but does anyone believe that this is anything other than re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic?

95
by An Onimous (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 11:36pm

The Pac-10 were definitely the losers in expansion. Not only did they get Colorado (who hasn't been an asset in several years), but they're now also forced to abandon their biggest football claim to fame- the fact that they're the only major conference (that anyone cares about- sorry Big East) to stage a true round-robin. You can't have a round-robin in an 11-team conference, so now they're going to be forced to adopt an unbalanced schedule. Which means that some year some team is going to avoid USC and manage to go undefeated and wind up opening Pandora's Box.

Plus, if the Pac-10 wants a championship game (and all the revenue that comes with- iirc the SECCG in 2008 brought in over $13 million), they're going to have to invite another team. Utah's the most logical choice, but while they'll probably improve the quality of football in the conference (albeit not by much), it's not like Utah's bringing in much extra revenue. Adding Utah would probably be a net financial loss for the other 11 members of the Pac-10.

So... adding a terrible team, being forced to adopt an unbalanced schedule, and facing the prospects of losing revenue through further expansion... the Pac-10 really screwed the pooch in conference expansion.

99
by Eddo :: Wed, 06/16/2010 - 1:26pm

"Which means that some year some team is going to avoid USC and manage to go undefeated and wind up opening Pandora's Box."

Having a conference championship game solves this problem*. Let's say USC continues to be the team to beat in the Pac-10. Every team in their division would play them, and if a team in the opposite division avoids them and goes undefeated, they would meet in the conference championship game.

Also, I'm sure the Pac-10 considers having a championship game (and the money that comes with it) to be preferable to having the round-robin scheduling, which only hardcore fans seem to judge as important**. I'm sure the majority of administrators behind this don't feel like the Pac-10 is worse off today than it was a week ago.

(* This assumes the Pac-10 adds Utah or another school to get to twelve teams.)
(** I like the round robin scheduling.)

28
by Dean :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:59am

So the rest of the Big 12 has officially decided to be the horns bitch.

I'm wondering where all the money will come from? If you were already paying the horns a disproportionate amount, and you're losing your championship game, and now you're paying the horns even more, how is a new TV deal (without your largest (or second?) TV market) supposed to make up for having fewer games with fewer teams in fewer markets?

Yes, you're slicing the pie 10 ways instead of 12, but how much smaller is the pie?

40
by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 12:52pm

1. Texas pwned everyone.
2. The Big 12 just set itself up to fail. How long until those other teams get themselves into a position where Texas is no longer calling the shots. They tried this time but Pac-10/Big-10 expansion wasn't a big enough catalyst.

48
by tuluse :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:25pm

This maybe stupid, but what does Texas get out of being in a conference?

If they want all their own money and tv channel, why not become independent?

49
by Brian Fremeau :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:31pm

A home for their non-revenue sports.

53
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 1:35pm

There's no downside to being in a conference where you hold the leash, and all the other schools are on a chokecollar.

63
by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Tue, 06/15/2010 - 2:29pm

They also get a conduit to the BCS games. Becoming an independent would all but bar them from the BCS, absent some new "Notre Dame" rules put in for Texas. I don't know who votes on such things, but if it's conference commissioners, no frickin' way they'd vote for that. No one interested in preserving the status quo of college football (which is what the BCS is) would vote for that.