How much do the Irish need to stay independent?
Have you noticed over the last 30 or so years in pro sports, all the talk is about the business aspects of contracts, network deals, players’ union issues, etc. Less and less about the pure sport involved. I guess the hyper-capitalists have squeezed the blood out of that turnip and have now moved on to college sports. They have us all talking about “adding media markets.” Who really gives a ___t? About this time of year I would so look forward to buying the annual Street and Smith’s College Football Yearbook, which analyzed the various conferences and teams. Now all of that seems pretty irrelevant. Perhaps I need to find the Nielsens’ Ratings Guide to sports programming in the USA. How are high school sports doing these days? Are they signing media rights deals yet or can I still watch them if I simply want to watch the sports?
I appreciate all the updates and info regarding the current debacle in college football, John
Getting weary of it all…
So much of sports media coverage these days is a combination of CNBC Financial, Court TV and Entertainment Tonight. I too, am growing weary of it all. Maybe I'm getting old, lol.
Have to be honest, I think most of the schools in the Big 12 and Pac 12 should be wise enough to see the writing on the wall and put together a mix of teams from both conferences that likely protects them in any CFP access discussions, and also creates a conference that will get at least similar value to what both the Pac 12 and Big 12 will get in their next TV rights negotiations. It seems like they will be pretty close in value. Some argue the Big 12 will get a bit more, some that the Pac 12 is slightly more valuable. But I can’t imagine either conference is far ahead of the other.
It’s harsh and it sucks, but why wouldn’t the following schools (or something close/similar to this) band together? Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, San Diego State are the first 14. You probably want at least two more schools, maybe as many as 6 depending on how the networks evaluate the $ of the conference. Stanford would be an obvious invite but would likely never join. So I’d at least offer Cal. Or Oregon State and Washington State. You could come up with a conference that would have value/provide protection in relation to CFP access, and at least similar $ value to what the Pac 12 & Big 12 are going to get in their new deals. You cover from the west coast to the middle of the country. And have a really nice basketball conference as well.
As much as I hate to see the Pac 12 fall apart, I think this list of schools would be wise to strike a deal that protects their interest going forward. Oregon may want to be in the Big 10, but if realignment gets even more crazy they have no real guarantee of getting in. From what we read/here Stanford, and UW would be preferred to Oregon. Possibly Cal. And if the ACC ever gets blown up, North Carolina, Virginia, and probably Miami are all more valued to the Big 10 than Oregon. Not saying Oregon can’t get in the Big 10, but doesn’t seem like a slam dunk by any means.
All the scenarios being kicked around is doing my head in. Let's lace 'em up and get busy with some football. Go Ducks.
John makes a really good point about why ND may find continued independence too good to pass up. I’m betting that with a 12-team field, ND would make the playoffs more often than 1/3 or the time. Not having to split those playoff shares is huge. Add to that a lucrative NBC deal for the next decade (even if it doesn’t equal Big 10 payouts, the CFP share will more than equalize the revenue) and an independent ND is sitting pretty. I’m not so sure it means that Oregon or Washington will make the playoffs, though, particularly if there is no guarantee that conference champs are included.
There must be a way for the B1G to force ND hand...
Like maybe give them a deadline. One school shouldn't have this much
control over college football. The B1G will be fine with or without ND.
I agree that the PAC-12 should just add one team, if any. Remember when the Big Ten expanded in the 1990s adding Penn St and went from 10 to 11 teams, and remained that until 2010s. San Diego St makes the most, however the football team is now embroidered in ugly player rape allegations. Not sure if the PAC-12 presidents and chancellors want that PR mess at the moment.
Good point on the CFP role in Notre Dame's status. Pretty much every conference except for the Big Ten has their reasons for wanting ND to remain independent. As such, the next time everyone is in the room to negotiate expansion they will probably be pursuing a format that includes enough at-large bids to ensure ND always has a shot. And when it really comes down to it, the Big Ten probably wants more at-large bids for their current members too. I'd say there's nothing to see here. Notre Dame will likely remain independent for at least the rest of this decade.
I hope if they spur the Big 10 they say great then are programs will not play against you.
Gonzaga has no football program, who cares, they are a national basketball power, you have to develop a hybrid if you want to survive outside of the super conferences, while it’s about football, it’s not all about football….be creative you may only get one spot in the CFB, regardless of whether USC or USCLA is in the conference they are not gonna totally leave out an entire part of the country..if they do there are political aspects they have failed to consider, this ain’t that hard…
I don't think the Irish need all what you are saying...After all they are smart enough to know if you fleece the golden goose...the money will stop after a while...so I'd bet they take about $40 million per year +3-4% increases per year. Then take another $15-20 million from the ACC...plus playoff bonuses that they don't have to share, and they are just fine. And still get to enjoy their independence, They still get all the exposure that comes with all of your games being shown on your own private network, and they get to keep on scheduling patsies every year like the SEC does 4 times every year yet never gets held accountable for it in the rankings. Naw... they don't need the big 10 as much as the big 10 needs/wants them.
John, love your column. One question - has the Pac-12 given any thought to combining with the Mountain West Conference, which itself has twelve teams, including Colorado State and Utah State, natural rivals for Colorado and Utah, as well as UNLV and Nevada, Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State? It seems to me like that would be a pretty powerful group of schools. Keep up the good work!
Better pray ND stays Independent. If ND goes to the BigTen, then so does Stanford. BigTen would love the affiliation with Stanford, ND would have a long-time partner like it does with USC, and USC & UCLA would be happy because Stanford isn't in the same recruiting market in So. Cal. A market they don't want to share with UO and UW. Has anyone heard USC clamoring for West Coast partners? I didn't think so.
Now, imagine a Pac12 with SDSU, San Jose St, and Fresno to replace the 3 that were lost. Pac12 ADs will have lemonade sale stands outside of stadiums to squeeze enough revenue for survival.
The only BigTen possibility for UO and UW will be an agreement to take reduced shares like Maryland and Rutgers did, but bigger reductions and longer.
If no affiliation at all, or reduced shares, then the Big Two will be ecstatic because they've then forced about 30 Power 5 competitors into a hole they'll never crawl out of.
I'm with you John on Notre Dame staying independent. They definitely don't need more money to stay competitive. I think anywhere north of $70 million is just fine. Where is Rudy when we need him? 😎
Media/streaming companies are spending a ton of money on content right now and advertising spending and subscribers may not be able to support it. Universities would do well to maintain their control & independence and not base their program spending on media contracts that might not be sustainable.