Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
I have to admit, this can be a tricky time of year for a guy that writes a newsletter that primarily focuses on the off-the-field forces that shape college athletics. It's one thing to have a single-minded focus on TV revenue and institutional alignment in July, but in September, there are football games and soccer games and volleyball games and plenty of stuff actually happening on the field. And all of that off the field stuff matters only because so many people care so deeply about what happens on the field.
Finding the right balance of coverage, especially since this newsletter serves several different constituencies, can be a challenge. After all, I care about those games too! In fact, a significant reason why I care about TV rights, or institutional alignment, or academic research, or any of the other things that I write about on Extra Points, is because I think that stuff impacts the actual games. Those trends impact the welfare and happiness of athletes, it impacts the experience fans have at games, it shapes who plays in what league, and more.
I don't want to be so arrogant as to tell other people how to be a fan, and I don't think I'm smart enough to give especially unique and informed media commentary. But do want to briefly mention a guiding principle I try to use when I write about college sports business, and it's one I'd recommend to others, especially fans.
Don't root for bank accounts.
I don't get a cut of any conference's TV deal, and neither do you. I don't get a dividend check of any NIL deal, and my experience as a consumer, and honestly, as a reporter, does not change if another collective raises X amount of money.
Those stories can be interesting because they might impact something on the field, or might impact future decisions from leaders, but the most interesting story is generally how those resources are used and shared. Does the money go to players? Coaches? Vendors? Scholarships? That's less clear.
I might gently encourage folks who don't work in college athletics to not get super caught up over what conference is making the most money from what, or who is slightly higher on US News, or which collective has allegedly raised and spent the most money. Root for your school by all means, but being true to the ol' Alma Mater doesn't mean you suddenly now have to switch to team Pac-12, or team ESPN, or team Opendorse.
Rooting for rich people to make even more money doesn't seem particularly fun or rewarding to me, personally. But that's just me.
Boy howdy do we have a lot of podcast content to share
Earlier this week on Going For Two, Bryan and I tried to make sense of what the rapid expansion to a 12-team College Football Playoff actually means for everybody involved in the College Sports Ecosystem.
Among other things on this show, Bryan and I try to shed some light on
- What information we still need in order to handicap how CFP expansion impacts realignment or campus-related budget issues
- What needs to happen before the Playoff can expand before 2026
- Why this is happening now, after several people on this committee voted against virtually the same proposal a few months earlier
- Who is going to broadcast this thing, and how much are those rights actually worth
- lol is Washington State gonna make the Playoff more often than Washington now
- How you can save 15% off your first order at Homefield Apparel by using promocode EXTRAPOINTS
- and more!
We also have BONUS EPISODE for our subscribers, featuring Friend of the Show Bud Elliott of CBS/247 Sports, to talk about the NOLES, expectations and major ACC storylines, how to approach early season betting lines, whether I should panic about Ohio State's just so-so offensive performance against Notre Dame, and more.
And hey, speaking of podcasts, can I also interest you in yet another one?
My podcast co-host Bryan Fischer has another show out now, also part of the D1.ticker family. It's called HeadCoachU, featuring former UVA and BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. You can catch the first episode here:
These episodes are going to focus on the real nuts and bolts of the head coaching profession....how culture gets built, why Bronco decided to step away, what goes into running a program, and more. If you're a BYU or UVA fan, and I know a lot of you reading this newsletter are, I think you'll really appreciate Bronco's insights here...but you'll probably enjoy the show even if you don't care about those programs.
HCU, just like Going For Two and the rest of the video content we produce across D1.ticker, is free.
Here's what else we did this week
- I dug into a recent post that purported to detail which college athletic programs were "profitable" to figure out if that's the right question to ask, and what the Knight Commission FRS data can, and can't, easily tell us.
- I wrote about where I see three potential big opportunities in the NIL space. I'm coming around to the idea that it's going to be difficult to really grow the social media endorsement space in the short term...but there's some real growth for schools, athletes and brands elsewhere.
- I dug into my library and the newspaper archives to write up a quick history of College Football Playoff proposals and failed expansion ideas. We've been arguing about the same stuff for a LONG time.
Next week, I'm headed to Washington D.C. for a few days for LEAD1 (drop me a note if you'll be there!), and also have a guest post scheduled from a Big Ten college athlete, thoughts on a recent academic paper on gambling, and more.
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Have a great weekend everybody. We'll see you on the internet on Monday.
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