The NCAA needs to do something and do it fast. This realignment upheaval that is happning is going to kill college sports. Gone are storied rivalries. Gone are the regional conferences. Gone is the chancw of traveling to see your team play at away games. Everyone is just trying to grab the biggest piece of pie that they can with no regards to their fans. I thought that public institutions were supposed to be not for profit?

To get back to the true meaning of inter collegiate competition and sports is to look back at history and incorporate into today’s landscape. Conferences shouldn’t span Nebraska to New York or from Orlando to Boise. They should be regionalized to minimize the cost of travwl to the schools but also of the fans. There should be a way that the NCAA can compromise with the conferences but if not exert some authority over them if need be. This so far is not just about football but all sports but now that is what I’m going to focus on.

Today is Conference Championship Saturday and every eye is going to be focused on football and ESPN. There are only a couple channels that every game is going to playex on and they all belong to the Disney/ESPN/ABC family of networks. Gone are the days of compitition cause college football is owned by ESPN now. They have the ri ght ts to what they call the 5 Power Conferences nad actually control most of thd bowl games, oh and the rights to the new “playoff system”. This just inherently wrong. No one should own a competitive sport for amatuers. If the NCAA is okay with everyone making money except the athletes than they should be paid too but that is another arguement entirely.

The sport needs to figuratively be blown and started anew with the NCAA in charge. Conferences can still make outside contracts with TV networks but no 1 network can own the rights to more than half of the conferences. The conferences need to be redone incorporating old rivalries with new regional foes. And if every other sport in the world can have a championship tournament than so can college football but keep the bowls arond for those that don’t make the tourney.

Now for discipline for those schools. I don’t care if you are the defending National Champs, you have to follow all of the rules. Bring in a panel of advisors to set up a set penalty schedule and then follow it to the “T”. Allow the appeals to be reviewed but expedite them. It shouldn’t take 2 years to penalize a school another to review the appeal. UCF shouldn’t be penalized more for a lesser offense than Miami would.

Accessibility should not be an issue in collegiate sports. Every team that competes should have a chance to win a National Championship. If you are a sanctioned sport and team by the NCAA than you have access. The “good ole boys” need t o retire to their front porches and yelling at the “kids” to stay off their yards. I know that their is no way to equally balance every conference but being in a lesser conferences shouldn’t be held against you. It works in basketball but can’t in football? I call b.s. on that. This in charge ahould be smart enough to find a way to get this done and if not then they shouldn’t be in charge anymore.

Now for my ideas. Conferences have to notify the NCAA on all realignment and broker a deal with the new team’s old conference before the move can be finalized. Any public lobbying will be unacceptable. Most importantly every conference champ gets into a tourney to get a shot at the championship. Depending on the number of conferences, there will be a number of at large bids offered by a slection committee. Sound familiar yet? Therefore you have the conferences that can include whomever the y want and just because you aren’t in the “Power 5” doesn’t mean that all hopes are lost.

Some may read this not knowing my allegiances and guess that I am a fan of one of the havenot schools and you would be partially correct. I graduated from the prestigious UCF but grew up a Gator fan. Even if i were still a fan of them i would believe in inclusion and if one of the havenots knocked me out of a tourney I would be disappointed in the coach and the way the team had played but wouldn’t hold it against the other school and would probably cheer them on in the rest of the tourney.

Here is what the NFL would look like if run like college football. ESPN would use their power rankings to rank the teams before preseason started. Preseason would be limited to one game against a lower tiered team. You would have the same 4-6 teams vying for the trophey every year. Divisions would have more power than the NFL but all of the best ones would have exclusive contracts with ESPN and any team they didn’t sign would be disparaged constantly on self-proclaimed “Wold Leader in Sports”. This would continue to happen until the NFL is unofficially split between the top 3-4 divisions and the rest wouldn’t even garner attention in their home markets because they don’t belong in the same conversation as the bigger teams.

Part of the appeal of professional sports is that no matter how bad a team is one year, there is always “next year” because no matter what at the beginning of the year every team is tied at 0-0. In college football, in most years you could have an undefeated team like Houston, Boise, Kent State, or Hawai’i that can’t win a championship just because they are in the wrong conference. How can an defeated team say that they are champions over a team hat is undefeated? Luckily for the NCAA, ESPN, and all of the conferences that hasnt happened enough to really call attention to it. Boise has finished undefeated twice and not been deemed worthy of the NC and that is just off the top of my head.

This shouldn’t happen in collegiate sports and the fact that we let it is appalling. College football needs an overhaul and needs it years ago.

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