Does College Football Really Deserve 'Not-for-Profit' Status?

Jim JonesContributor IIISeptember 8, 2011

Is Expansion Good for College Football?
Is Expansion Good for College Football?Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

We are learning a lot of things on the verge of a massive conference realignment that will reshape the entire college football landscape. We are learning that traditions don’t matter to college administrators, that universities are more than glad to stab long-time associates in the back, and that ego rules the day. Most importantly; we are learning that the NCAA is no longer a “Not-for-Profit” enterprise.

Take a quick look at the current conference realignment shake-ups going on across the nation and you can clearly see that profits and revenues are by far and large the motivating factor. Athletic departments are no longer considering factors outside of money (except maybe ego and pride) as even relevant in the discussion. And what do they believe will make the most money? 

Expansion. Expansion. Expansion.    

Screw the well-being of athletes. Who cares if a bunch of college athletes will now spend their college career traveling to every far flung corner of country in an effort to keep us entertained. And screw the smaller programs, like volleyball, whom are already struggling on shoe-string budgets, who cares if they now have to pay umpteen times more in travel costs? 

And most of all, screw the fans. Who cares if they can’t travel to the game? Tickets will still sell and stadiums will still fill up. Sure there will be less tailgating, and bar room banter will become a thing of the past for those exciting games like Texas vs. Washington State or Oklahoma vs. Oregon State.

I mean why travel three hours to tailgate and watch a game against your traditional rivals when you can travel 2,144 miles and drive for a total of 35 hours to watch the Texas Longhorns line up against the Washington Huskies. Yup, that is the travel time and distance from Austin to Seattle, according to Map Quest. 

We’ve heard the arguments, we will get four “super” conferences and they will be really super. Yeah right, what we will get is eight weaker “eight-team conferences,” with diminished tradition and likely less geographic focus. That’s right, each “division” will practically become a conference in its own right. 

Think about it, if you’re in an eight team “division,” you will play other members of your division seven times, and then play one or two cross rivalry games a year with members from the other division. How is that different from the current set up where you play members of your own conference eight or nine times a year and then play a tough out-of-conference game, or two? Heck, many universities already have non-conference rivals—like Michigan State vs. Notre Dame and Penn State vs. Pittsburgh—why not work on developing those instead? 

Yet none of these considerations matter. Why? Because college football is no longer about football, it’s about money. And hey, maybe that’s not a bad thing, but it means that NCAA football should be stripped of its non-profit status and players should be given more compensation. Why shouldn’t they be? This is a for-profit industry that is out to make money, so the workers should get a bigger cut too. 

This basically sums up Texas A&M's move to the SEC
This basically sums up Texas A&M's move to the SECChris Graythen/Getty Images

At every level these major decisions are centered around money, and when an entity becomes focused on money, and not its “cause,” in this case college sports, then that entity no longer deserves tax free status because it has become a for-profit business. 

Somehow the wise leaders of the NCAA will come out and try to argue that they are still Not-for-Profit, that all of this is being done in the name of the sport. 

You see, Texas fans and athletes will really appreciate the scenery in Seattle and  Washington fans are going to love Austin. Sure, they won’t be able to travel to these cities, but hey we  show those fans all the pretty things on TV. Heck, with HDTV, modern televisions can provide an image better than your own eyes! Or something to that effect... 

And developing close ties between agriculture and mechanical schools like Texas Tech and science focused schools like UCLA will result in really scientific-mechanical robotic crops. We’ll hear all sorts of excuses and faulty reasons why this is being done in the name of the sport and universities, not revenue, but at the end of the day all excuses are just excuses.   

This is all about the money, and as such the NCAA should be stripped of its Not-for-Profit status.