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College Football is Broken, Here are Four Ways to Fix The Sport

Portions of this article utilized AI

College football, a sport steeped in tradition and passion, often finds itself at the center of heated debates and controversies. The year 2023 was no exception, with numerous discussions surrounding the College Football Playoff (CFP) selections, the impact of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals, and conference realignments.

How to Fix College Football | Portions of this article use AIPhoto

In addition, College football fans continue to express significant dissatisfaction about the controversial decisions made by the College Football Playoff selection committee. Fans are upset over the exclusion of teams like Florida State and Georgia, despite their strong performances throughout the season. This discontent is fueled by the perception of unfairness and lack of transparency in the selection process, as well as debates over the criteria used to determine playoff eligibility.

Here are four simple ways to fix College Football.

Revise the College Football Playoff Selection Process

The CFP selection in 2023 stirred significant controversy, particularly with the exclusion of teams like Florida State, Georgia, and Ohio State. The selection committee’s decision to include teams like Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama raised eyebrows, especially considering Florida State’s undefeated season and Georgia’s status as back-to-back national champions. The process seemed inconsistent and unclear, leading to disputes and dissatisfaction among fans and teams alike. A more transparent and consistent selection criterion, possibly involving automated rankings or a larger selection committee with diverse representation, might help mitigate such controversies​.

Implement Clearer NIL Guidelines

The introduction of NIL deals has been a game-changer in college football, offering student-athletes opportunities to earn from their personal brand. However, it has also led to disparities among players and teams, potentially impacting the competitive balance. Establishing clearer guidelines and perhaps a cap on NIL deals could help maintain fairness in the sport while still allowing players to benefit from their image and talents.

The NCAA is poised to introduce significant changes to its model concerning athlete compensation and school involvement in Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals. These proposed changes, outlined in a letter from NCAA leadership to member schools, represent a pivotal shift in the organization’s approach to athlete compensation and reflect the evolving landscape of college sports. Here’s a concise overview of the key points from the proposed changes, which aim to address current challenges and future opportunities within collegiate athletics.

The NCAA’s proposed changes, outlined in a letter by Baker, include several key points:

  1. Division I schools could enter directly into NIL deals with their athletes.
  2. Creation of a new Division I subdivision with its own rules for recruiting, transfers, roster sizes, etc.
  3. Schools in this subdivision must contribute millions annually to a trust fund for athletes.
  4. The policy shifts from the NCAA’s non-academic compensation prohibition.
  5. Schools in the highest-paying subdivision must set aside at least $30,000 per athlete annually for educational purposes, without spending restrictions.
  6. These NIL payments and trust funds must comply with Title IX for gender equity.
  7. The new framework aims to address disparities caused by collectives, the Transfer Portal, and NIL.
  8. The proposal seeks to influence federal legislation for governing college sports.

Rethink Conference Realignment Strategies

The ongoing trend of conference realignments poses a significant challenge to the traditional structure and regional rivalries of college football. While realignment can lead to increased revenue and exposure for some programs, it can also disrupt longstanding regional and historical rivalries, which are a core part of the sport’s appeal. To mitigate the negative impacts, a more strategic and thoughtful approach to realignments is needed. This approach should consider factors such as geographic proximity, historical rivalries, and the potential impact on competitive balance. Ensuring that realignments are not solely driven by financial incentives but also by a commitment to preserving the traditional values and rivalries of college football is crucial.

Expanding the College Football Playoff Will Help

The expansion of the College Football Playoff (CFP) system is a frequently discussed solution to address the controversies around team selections. An expanded playoff would allow more teams to compete for the national title, potentially including those from non-Power Five conferences who are often overlooked under the current system. This could lead to a more inclusive and fairer competition, giving a wider range of teams the opportunity to prove themselves on the national stage.

Moreover, an expanded playoff could increase fan engagement and excitement, as more teams and their supporters would remain involved in the hunt for the national championship. The key to a successful expansion would be to balance the increased number of games with the academic commitments and physical well-being of the student-athletes. In 2024, we will get to test this theory and actually see a 12-team playoff!

What a 12-Team Playoff Will Look Like

  • The College Football Playoff (CFP) will expand to a 12-team format next season.
  • The field will include six highest-ranked conference champions with automatic bids.
  • Top four teams will receive a first-round bye.
  • Remaining six teams will be chosen based on rankings.
  • Lower seed can choose the host venue for the first round.
  • Quarterfinals will begin in bowl games, with semifinals rotating among different bowls.
  • National championship location determined through bids.
  • Specific bowls set for quarterfinals and semifinals for 2024 and 2025.
  • Miami will host the 2025 National Championship Game

The landscape of college football is undergoing significant changes. The controversy surrounding the College Football Playoff selections has sparked debate and dissatisfaction among fans, particularly regarding the exclusion of certain teams. The impending shift to a 12-team playoff format next season marks a major change, aiming to address these concerns by including more teams and introducing a mix of automatic bids and rankings-based selections. This expansion reflects a broader trend in college sports of evolving structures and policies, including the NCAA’s proposed changes regarding NIL deals and athlete compensation, highlighting a period of transformation and modernization in college football.

Hopefully the changes ahead will address the issues that the sport is now experiencing and create a better landscape for competition and fans.

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