I am neither an alarmist nor a Cassandra, but I genuinely fear that college football has been blown up while we fans looked on numbly and meekly, cloaked only in naivete.
Blown up. I labored over that term for several minutes. But I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Or, as the Old Man says at least half dozen times a day, “That’s not hyperbole.”
Blown up. Detonated. Destroyed.
This insane, unhinged, rabid money grab will prove to be a mass murder-suicide.
College football is emotion, and really nothing more. Rivalries matter. Conferences matter. Traditions matter. Histories matter. Regionalism matters. Romantic fantasies matter.
In fact, the entire sport is built on romantic fantasies. College football has always required our suspension of disbelief.
“College players play for the love of the game.”
“College football is purer than the pros.”
“College players love their schools. And especially their teammates and coaches.”
“I’m pretty sure that cheerleader loves me.”
The sport can no longer be presented as a sweet romantic fantasy.
These presidents, AD’s and TV execs are just high-end hookers turning high-priced tricks.
What’s that old joke? “Madam, we have established what you are, now we are merely haggling over price.”
This will prove to be mass murder-suicide. First, dozens of small and “mid-major” football programs will be slaughtered.
That will leave us with 32 premeditated murderers. But they will ultimately die at their own hands. And it may not even take very long.
Because tv ratings will plummet. Stadium attendance will tank. Merchandise sales will plummet. Advertisers and sponsors will head for the hills.
And alumni and booster donations will dry up. Hmm. Now you have the attention of university presidents and athletic directors.
In very short order, nobody will care anymore. And that’s bad for business.
Nobody will care about the sport they’ve always cared the most about.
“What’s love got to do with it?”
And this is now purely “transactional.”
This Golden Goose is cooked.
Blind greed has taken the rah out of “rah-rah.” And “rah-rah” has always been the sport’s core product.
See? Once again, “trickle down economics” will prove disastrous.