From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
Drama or the threat of departure of seven major collegiate football programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has been at the top of sports headlines this past week.
A small group of schools have convinced the ACC to plan an allocation program based on success.
The ACC “Power 7” as they been labeled include Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
But in the middle of the new proposal is the underlying success, or should we say the lack of, the Power 7. Over the past eight years, the only program to have proven itself is the Clemson Tigers. They have been a repeater in the national championship race.
According to Business of College Sports website, each conference receives $6 million from the College Football Playoff for each team selected for a semifinal game and $4 million for each team that plays in a non-playoff bowl under the College Football Playoff. There is no additional payout for the National Championship Game, only additional expenses covered.
Typically, each bowl-eligible program is given money by their league for expenses; the rest of the funds are placed in a pool and divided equally among the membership. But in the recent Georgia national championship, the school received an additional $1 million.
Documents show that gross revenue collected by the Power 5 Leagues in the year before COVID knocked everything out tallied $768.9 million for the Big Ten and $728.9 million for the Southeastern Conference. The ACC reported $496.7 million.
The monies continue to rise, but it all centers on football.
The simple solution in all of this is to create football only conferences. Everyone can keep their overall conference membership, but football would be locked into at least four big membership groups.
This would allow for much larger television contracts and more money for everyone involved and would continue the idea of having a national championship that just includes the power conferences.
Could you imagine a football SEC with the addition of Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Each school would play seven conference games with four out-of-conference/rivalry ones. The attendance would rise and so would the football monies. Then in every other sport, the ACC would still exist.
Play more games on Wednesday, Thursdays and Sundays. Maybe even thrown in a Monday nighter. And of course, do not double book ball games on the same dates and times, thus allowing more games to be on the ACC Network or beyond.
Networks should love this idea, and in the midst of this, the NCAA has lost most of its power on football. Instead, the College Football Playoff committee has taken that away, and this might be the next step in the network contracts.
College football’s future depends on stepping out of the ordinary and finding a new way to generate more money.
This could also force stadiums like Virginia Tech to add more seats because tickets would be high demand to see Alabama play in Blacksburg.
The expansion of the college football playoff brackets would also help a lot in gaining new attention and television viewers.
Think about the possibilities.