Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
We're hurling into the true start of the college football season, but not without a gazillion things also all happening at the same time. I can't squeeze everything into one exhaustive newsletter before we turn on our TVs and turn off our brains for the holiday weekend, but I did want to hit a few of the biggest stories.
Report: Washington also talking with the Big Ten...so now what?
Earlier this week, I wrote about the meeting between attorneys with Oregon, the Big Ten, and industry consultants, and exactly what sort of data gets discussed at these sorts of meetings.
Now, does this mean Washington to the Big Ten CONFIRMED? Based on what I was told earlier this week about the context for these meetings...no, I don't think so.
For one, at least one established industry source believes that there are strong voices in the Big Ten against expanding right now:
I can't confirm this specifically yet, but I was told earlier in the week that not every single president is as gung ho about moving to 20 teams as perhaps the Big Ten's Rosemont Office is. That doesn't mean that they can't or won't get there eventually.
Based on what I've been told, the only thing I feel really comfortable saying is that a) IF Oregon goes to the Big Ten, Washington is coming too, and b) individual television network distributions are not the only factor being considered, and that the Big Ten leadership could, in fact, decide to expand even if it does not immediately expand their per-school distributions and c) this particular storyline is going to reach a resolution before the end of the football season.
How it ends, exactly? I don't know for sure yet. And if I did...friends, I'd probably put that one behind the paywall.
Why do I believe we'll get an answer sooner rather than later? Because of TV negotiations.
The Big 12 is now talking with Fox and ESPN about their next TV contract. The Pac-12 already started that conversation. The broadcasters and the conferences would love to have some semblance of cost certainty for the coming years, and locking up their media rights until the end of the decade will help.
But the Pac-12 is unlikely to be able to secure a new TV deal if they can't promise their broadcasting partners that Oregon and Washington will be a part of it. The Big 12 is unlikely to be able to poach Utah or Arizona if Oregon and Washington remain part of the Pac-12.
Eventually, somebody is going to get asked to sign some paperwork, and they'll need to decide if the Big Ten is a realistic option or not....and that "eventually", I'm told, is expected to be in 2022, not 2023.
Various fans and local reporters can tweet about market sizes and broadcast ratings and exit fees and which AD is secretly trying to sabotage whoever, but at the end of the day, the next steps for both of these leagues are going to be settled a little closer to O'Hare Airport.
In non-realignment news, the NCAA made some actually significant changes
I want to quickly draw attention to Thursday's release from the NCAA, announcing some tweaks in the recruiting calendar and infractions process. Among other things,
- The Board of Directors adopted transfer windows.
Fall sports: a 45-day window beginning the day after championships selections are made in their sport, or May 1-15.
Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants in the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision championship games.
Winter sports: a 60-day window beginning the day after championships selections are made in the sport.
Spring sports: Dec. 1-15, or a 45-day window beginning the day after selections are made in the sport.
The legislation also establishes exceptions to the new windows for student-athletes who experience head coach changes or have athletics aid reduced, canceled or not renewed.
Those are some pretty important exceptions, since head coach changes happen over a period of several months, not just right after championship selections are made, but this policy does provide some semblance of stability and predictability in the calendar...not just for millionaire head coaches, but for decidedly not-millionaire GAs, and most importantly, for athletes and their families. We'll have to see what this looks like in practice, but I do like the idea.
- The IARP is dead, a confusing bureaucratic subgroup created in 2019 that solved exactly nothing. It will adjudicate five remaining cases and then vanish.
The other tweaks...attempts to streamline the infractions process, encourage cooperation, etc....we'll just have to see. I've seen this movie before.
Bigger changes, like potentially getting rid of postseason bans or creating new penalties altogether, are still TBA. Stay tuned...
We hit a bunch of other big off-the-field stories this week on Going For Two
Earlier this week, Bryan and I dug into two other major off-the-field storylines...the compliance issues at FAMU, and the allegations of racist behavior during a Duke/BYU Volleyball game.
This was recorded on Tuesday, so I know there have been developments in both stories, but almost all the takeaways here are still relevant:
Specifically, we talk about things like,
- What it means when you read about a player being ruled ineligible for compliance related reasons, and why that doesn't mean that the athlete wasn't doing well in school.
- Whether FAMU/UNC should have been played at all
- The most important takeaways from how BYU responded to allegations of racist conduct, and what every athletic department should be thinking about after this event
- Scott Frost Day
- and more.
Here's what else we've been working on this week:
- I've updated the EA Sports College Football Audio Tracker multiple times. It now includes data from 28 schools, including updates from Nebraska, North Texas, Kent State, and Texas State.
- I did a Mailbag newsletter, discussing which college sport I thought had the most growth potential, which sports have failed to build on NIL, what lawsuits could be coming next in the athlete rights movement, my dream road trips, and more.
- I took a look at recent comments from other ADs, insiders and college presidents, along with what folks have told me...and why I think there's a real chance the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament could see significant changes in the near future.
- And I also shared some updates about future EP related projects, how our business is going, and a discount code. Check your inbox for that one.
You can make sure you get every Extra Points newsletter and support our work this season by upgrading to a paid subscription:
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the weekend, and I'll catch up with you after Labor Day.
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