The NCAA Fate in Football


The NCAA is often criticized for its commercialism and lack of true collaboration. With the NCAA-run March Madness tournament just completed, however, it’s hard to imagine a world of college sports in which the NCAA does not play a pivotal role. In football, on the other hand, strides are being made that just might change the relationship between universities, conferences, and the NCAA.

The first, seemingly unimportant, development is the branding of the new College Football Playoff. The new format, set to debut after the 2014 regular season, hopes to resolve some of the arguments for reform that have become increasingly prevalent in the last several years. The logo has just been chosen this week, and the gaining momentum for the new playoff leads to a startling realization: unlike the championships for nearly every other college sport, the branding of the College Football Playoff features no mention of the NCAA. This may in fact be a deliberate choice. As college football seeks to reformat their playoff process, they may also be looking to refocus on college football, rather than the NCAA.

Another interesting development is the recent media deal struck by the SEC and ESPN. The SEC, one of the most important and influential football conferences, just signed a contract with ESPN to debut a channel strictly for SEC-sports, and the conference will receive a portion of the profits. The independent media negotiations of individual conferences has highlighted the fact that conferences, and the schools in them, are not financially dependent on the NCAA.

While the NCAA does argue that it remains relevant as a standardizing body for collegiate sports, it will be interesting to see how its relationship with schools and conferences develops in the coming years. What do you think- is there still a place for the NCAA in college football?

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