College Football: 5 Ways To Make It Better
There are are a lot of opinions about the BCS system. They cover the spectrum from bad to really bad. It's clear to everyone that the BCS does not work.
The system of polls in place before the BCS didn't work, either. The polling system allowed for two different teams to call themselves National Champions if the coaches disagreed with the sportswriters.
By now, most fans believe there should be some kind of tournament system.
I don't want to rehash that debate. I have five ideas that will improve the game of college football.
If a Head Coach Takes a Job at Another School, He Has To Sit Out a Year
College football players are personally recruited by head coaches.
That process almost always involves the parents.
The head coach tells the parents about his commitment to the players, the education and the program. Somewhere in that discussion are words like "character" and "commitment."
On a personal level, the head coach sells himself as the face of the program and someone who is going to watch out for the player.
I doubt very few head coaches tell parents about his commitment to the program as a stepping stone to another program.
For example, I have no issue with Brian Kelly leaving Cincinnati to go to Notre Dame. The Notre Dame job is one of the most prestigious in college football. However, the Cincinnati players who came there to play for him deserve more than a press conference.
If a player has to sit out a year when they transfer, so should a head coach.
I don't have the same issues with assistant coaches.
Allow Players to Receive Impermissible Benefits
The year Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy, he was the best player in college football. Now, he's returned the Heisman and all the victories have been overturned.
Does that mean he wasn't the best player in college?
What he did off the field didn't change his ability. And the idea of overturning a game five years after it was played is silly.
Let the players get whatever benefits they can while they're in college. Cars, meals, cash, all of it.
The commitment and time required to play college football is greater than the value of the scholarship.
Here's an example. Reggie Bush probably spent eight hours a day on football-related activities during the fall semester. By football related activities, I include watching film, lifting, studying the playbook, promotional appearances on behalf of the university, travel, etc.
He did that six days a week, which is 48 hours. Football practice begins earlier than the semester, so he spent the month of July through December on football—48 hours a week for 26 weeks.
That's a total of 1,248 hours. Fall tuition at USC is about $25,000. That works out to $20 per hour for his time.
The University generated $54 million of revenue through the football program when Bush played, according to Forbes Magazine.
So lets do the math for the team: 85 scholarship players who generate $54 million of revenue. Each player generates (on average) $635,000 income. They cost $25,000 per semester.
In my opinion, let the players get whatever benefits they can. BUT.......
Set Age Limits
That's a picture of Chris Weinke, who played quarterback for Florida State at age 26.
I was (and still am) a big fan of Weinke. He was a great college quarterback. But he was 26.
College Football should be limited to men of college age. Men between the age of 18 and 23. A 26-year-old man has physical skills and experience that gives him an unfair advantage over an 18-year-old man. Those eight years matter.
I would change the rules in the following way:
1. A player can get whatever benefits he is able to get, but
2. He has to be between the ages of 18 and 23.
Get Rid Of The Redshirt
Pat Tillman was asked to redshirt his freshman year.
He responded, "I've got things to do with my life. You can do whatever you want with me, but in four years I'm gone."
I love that quote and I love his attitude. He came to Arizona State to play football and he wanted to play football.
I agree with him. No redshirt years, even for injuries. You get four years, and after four years, you're gone.
No Early Decision For The NFL Draft
College is four years.
If you get a scholarship, you stay for four years. You can get all the benefits you want, but you must stay for four years before you go to the NFL.
The NFL would need to cooperate on this. It would help both college and the pros. The college game would benefit this year by having Cam Newton and Mark Ingram back.
Could you imagine the Auburn/Alabama game with two Heisman winners?
Could you imagine Ohio State if Maurice Clarett had stayed for four years? Or Craig Krenzel (that was a joke, Krenzel stayed for four years).