My rough calculation from a year ago, using media reported data, is that with Oregon and Washington the new Big Ten has already achieved the largest collection of TV ratings eyeball potential, student enrollment, and football revenue per program of any conference, and may now be danger close to attaining an insurmountable hold on these positions (i.e.: such a strong advantage that no reasonably likely realignment in the rest of the game would challenge it) if just a couple of additional pieces fell into place (Stanford, Cal, plus a disgruntled Florida State, perhaps a nervous Notre Dame, etc...)

Do you have a strong professional take on these numbers?

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Pigs will fly before Norte Dame joins any conference.

The only thing that could force this is ND’s own failure to “hold” its TV $ratings$.

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This is a subject I have mixed feelings about. I am from Iowa, and went to the University of Iowa in 2005. Because state of Iowa has no professional sports at all, and with football being as popular as it is... well, there's a reason Iowa fans are among the most loyal and boisterous in the nation, the population of Iowa City grows about 55,000 on game day- the die hard Hawkeye fan base is known to travel in large numbers to bowl games. The day Iowa fans show up en masse for a game, the city's beer supply is sure to decrease sharply. Iowa football always seems to be just good enough to rank, sometimes hitting the top 10, but they're typically a few specialty positions short of national championships. Also the slow, grinding game plan of Kirk Ferentz, the longest tenured head coach in the nation, since 1998. Iowa has produced a remarkable amount of NFL linemen, tight ends, and secondary players for a school that doesn't aquire many 5 star recruits. I digress, as you can tell, football is very important many an Iowan, and both Iowa and Iowa State are among the top research and AG schools in rhe nation.

The U of Iowa makes for a great example of how intertwined the universities are with their football teams. The Iowa Stead Children's hospital was completely a few years back, and because the hospital and the stadium are across right next to each other, a heart-warming tradition has begun. The 12th floor of the childrens hospital overlooks the stadium, and the children being treated in the hospital can see the home games. After the first quarter of every home game, all 55,000 people in the stadium and the players turn around and wave to the kids on the 12th floor- My sister-in-law is does research in oncology-hematology at Stead- this is a unique example of how all the bullshit, the controversy, etc. of money and athletics among universities, disappears for a few fleeting moments, giving a sick child a tear-jerking glimmer of hope.

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You didn't mention it, but it appears that at least for the Big 12, basketball will go the way of football.

I started out at Mich State, then after two years transferred to a small college (Franklin and Marshall) because I wanted to get an education. Best move I ever made.

I've spent virtually my entire career in R/D (PhD UF). College football almost seems pristine compared to gov't funding.

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Ultimately, our Big5 university have three extra-University cash flows: Athletics, grants, and scientific research, all of which have their shady sides.

P.S. I am a Badger fan and I saw my first football games when Alan Ameche roamed, some 70 years ago.

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As I Canadian I have little interest in football. I appreciate the strategy, skill, athleticism but there are many downsides.

Across the board you should consider the communal, societal, environmental, ethicall impacts of the comimgling of all this money. Shiny trophies are a global avenue for money laundering, addiction, gambling and my favorite, the big shiny m in 'misogyny'.

For reference.






When that much capital is flowing productively to create a rich, diverse society of golf courses so you can over pay for a pair of shoes you know capitalism is working. I didn't even touch on the BS influencer economy which rewards only fans idiots and absolutely elevates the lowest common denominator.

Male performative allyship is awful, but female athletes who are not duly compensated and often from the LGTBQ community complaining about sexism/marginilization who don't understand the math behind the system and ally with shiny male athletes are a little vomit worthy.

My two cents. 🙏

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Thank you Roger for putting numbers into this essay.

Very impactful.

I too am a product of the Power 5.

In 1983 I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Accounting that I parleyed into a 35 year career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Your observation about college football turning pro is accurate.

The (1) transfer portal, (2) recent approval of Name, Image & Likeness as a source of revenue for players, and (3) coaches salaries - all point to this.

I’ve not followed the conference realignment of recent days, perhaps in a future edition you might expand on this.


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