That’s right, the PAC-12 is now “No. 1” in college football, at least when measured by what has become the most important measure of success. It is not games won, team rankings in the polls, etc. (the SEC is way ahead by those measures). The measure I am talking about is MONEY! The PAC-12 recently negotiated a $3 Billion deal for the television rights to their football games, and they are in the process of building a seven-channel television network.
You can read all the details in the December 19th issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, and in that article Commissioner Larry Scott does not try to convince anyone that College Football is not a “business.” He believes College Sports are a huge business that has not come close to realizing it’s full potential. He believes College Football will generate revenues comparable to the annual revenues of the NFL. And that, my friend, is a great “business.”
The difference between Larry Scott and Mark Emmert of the NCAA is that he makes no attempt to perpetuate the myth that College Sports is not a business. If Universities have a business with a product that can generate billions of dollars in profits, why shouldn’t they? It’s a free market for the consumers’ dollar.
But if College Sports wants to have a long-term successful business they must stop the exploitation of the players. You cannot emulate the NFL, or attain their level of success, if the players are not paid. Whether they like it or not, a union will be organized and agents will represent the most talented players. If they are smart, College Sports will not oppose these actions. Just as with the NFL and NBA, College Sports (the franchise owners) will negotiate with the players to arrive at a fair deal.
These changes may seem radical, but with so much money at stake it is not possible to go back to the “good old days.” Most of our major institutions of higher learning are now in the “entertainment business” and how they manage that business is going to have a huge impact on our educational system.