Where the College Football Playoff Revenue Should Go

Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2012

photo from trews.org
photo from trews.org

Well Houston…we’ve got a playoff.

The years of waiting are almost over, and finally, at long last, the highest level of college football will have a championship decided by a playoff.

Yes, it’s a mini-playoff that won’t even encompass all the conference champions from the BCS leagues, but still, according to the masses, it’s a step in the right direction.

Though there are a myriad of discussion topics regarding the format and actual operating platform for the new scheme, it’s pretty safe to assume that there will be a healthy increase in ticket sales and TV revenue with three games vs. the previous system that supported a single title game.

So, where does the “extra” money go?

Does the pile of cash get split up between the participating conferences (the bowls acting as playoff games), the BCS or the very programs that have ascended to the top of Broke-bracket Mountain?

Perhaps the host cities should get a cut, or all the BCS bowls should stick their thumbs in the pie, or what if all the FBS teams got a percentage of the extra income?

While these are only a few potential options, what if college football did something completely radical with the extra money generated by the new format and created a scheme that rewarded the guys who actually generate the money all season long?

Yes, what if a system was devised that calculated the amount of “new” cash (this, admittedly would be a challenge in itself) and found a way to split it among the athletes who ARE college football?

The next question is obvious; let’s say we actually did come up with a number…then we’d have to decide who gets what, why and how.

Sure, it makes a lot of sense, logically, to share the income generated by ticket sales, TV revenue and licensing with the guys whose abilities actually sell the product…but how would it work?

Well, here’s one idea that will no doubt turn some heads.

Let’s take the cash generated by the mini-playoff and hold it as a bonus to be awarded to every active roster FBS player who goes on to graduate from his program in the future.

To illustrate, the calculated amount generated from the 2015-16 playoff scheme (perhaps you would utilize a set amount with a ceiling on it) would be split between every active roster 2015 season FBS player who goes on to graduate from college.

Freshmen would receive their cut when they graduated in the spring of 2019, sophomores would get a check in the spring of 2018, juniors would get their payoff from the playoff in the spring of 2017 and seniors would get them some in 2016.

The longer you participate, assuming you eventually earn a degree, the bigger the payoff at the end.

It’s obvious that this proposal is pock-marked with logistical issues and spawns more questions than answers, but with something along these lines, you would actually reward players whose participation equaled cash for everyone but themselves.

As a bonus, you provide a concrete incentive for graduation and, ultimately, the earning of a college degree.

The money coming in will be substantial, in the form of millions or billions of dollars, which means that the bonus could be made wildly attractive. This is precisely what it would need to be to make the entire scheme actually work.

Though some folks will assert that a similar system could be devised for other collegiate sports, or that the football money could be shared with other athletic pursuits, it should purely be a football strategy.


Major college football (and basketball, to be fair) already generates the money to support other sports and entire institutional budgets, regardless of the fact that it’s earned by guys who are rewarded with a college education they don’t even complete many times.

It’s simple, give the money directly to the guys who earned it, not the men and women who competed well but didn’t produce a huge pile of cash along the way.

Furthermore, give it to the young men who use their scholarships (the vehicle that so many folks claim are fair compensation for their athletic services) to earn a college degree, while at the same time generously add to the ever growing bottom line of major college football.

It’s the payoff for the playoff, and it would be good for college football, no matter how you slice it.