The takeover of NCAA Division I-A, which later became known as Football Bowl Subdivision, began in the early 1990s.
The maneuvering to make the sport under the sole auspices of entities other than the National Collegiate Athletic Association entered a new phase recently when, according to a report published on ESPN.com, “the (College Football Playoff) board of managers briefly discussed the possibility of restructuring how college football is governed, with the idea presented of major college football potentially being governed outside of the NCAA. The most logical place for the sport to be run outside of the NCAA would be under the auspices of the CFP, which was discussed on the call. The CFP currently oversees the sport’s postseason playoff and has contractual ties to other marquee postseason bowl games.”
The evolution of major college football from a Saturday afternoon ritual to a big business that reaps millions of greenbacks on the backs of amateur athletes continues to be a stain on a nation that once prided itself on not just competitive sports but the esprit de corps that came with it.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy watching games and evaluating them based on matchups on the field. It is because the noise in the background – in the board rooms and corporate offices – has made college football a shell of its former self
There was a time when folks looked forward to bowl season. Not anymore. The only games that matter are the ones under the banner CFP – with the New Year’s Six running as opening acts.
Division I football has become a factory, run by corporate types instead of administrators. One wonders what, exactly, is the role of athletic directors and conference commissioners other than to facilitate the transfer of power from universities to board rooms and their members.
Major college football has become a showcase of elite teams versus the also-rans. It has become growingly reminiscent of the rivalries of ancient city-states vying for control of power and ensuring dominance of the culture in which they exist.
Sad, it is, that a sport that had something for everyone is now reserved for a select few teams who, in recent years, have secured the patent for superiority in a division that includes some 132 teams.
No matter how the networks try to paint a rosy picture of college football – using colorful images of trees full of orange and amber leaves falling on to the lawns of college campuses and showing packed stadiums with adoring fans – college football is a wasteland.
The sport is firmly in the realm of handlers in charge of an exclusive club, who share in the bounty thanks to multi-million television contracts and wealthy boosters who fork out money like salt water taffy to add sweetness to the sour that has become college football.
Welcome to modern-day college football, where the gladiators challenge all who dare play in their coliseums in front of inebriated spectators with fire in their eyes.
I challenge anyone to find a legitimate reason to support a sport that has lost its way. Its identity (as an amateur sport played within the boundaries of loyalty and sportsmanship) has become skewed by corporate greed. Its purpose has been undermined by the lust for control spawned by cries for a playoff and endowed with enough money to feed a country. This is what happens when a governing body (the NCAA) relinquishes control. This is the outcome of the handover of power into the hands of a dozen or so individuals with no vested interest in the sport or what it has meant to the populace.
Go ahead and boast of a CFP championship. You have won a non-sanctioned event. Your trophy is a graven image. It is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Victory, oh victory! Why have you left me empty? Where do we go from here? What have we done to become better at the things that this game does not teach? Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. When you lose, you die a little.
When Penn State started the 2021 season with a shining 5-0 record and a top-five ranking in the polls, expectations soared. Then, the Nittany Lions lost six of their final eight games to finish a disappointing 7-6 season.
If, in the context of the current paradigm, a national championship is the only imperative, I say that the soul of the game has left the body and is adrift in an abyss.
Here is the link for the ESPN story: College Football Playoff board discusses possibility, potential of restructuring how college football is governed, sources say (espn.com)
Enjoy the 2022 season – but with a disclaimer: whoever wins the College Football Playoff is not the national champion in the true sense of the word, not like the champions of Divisions I-A (Football Champion Subdivision), II and III, which compete in bracketed tournaments.
The kings and princes of major college football are the usual suspects in a hunger game. The underdogs are fodder for mercenary athletes who attend college for one reason: to play football.
Enjoy the 2022 season.