Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Have you noticed that there is only College Football on TV all day and on all the three major networks on Sundays? I love football and I especially love how a young college kid will make multiple passes to keep that play alive but the college machine of football has gone professional in how much money is pumped into the sport. Should we be putting all that pressure on a 18-23 year old kid who also has the pressures of getting good grades in college?
The popularity of the sport now is at an all time high. Especially from the big business from betting. Also, for more and more Universities around the country, success on the football field means success and revenue for the college. They are planning a lucrative playoff in 2015 that all colleges are preparing for. So, how essential is College Football these days. Well some football coaches get paid more than the college president.
In Aerobe, Michigan they call their stadium the Big House that represents the players from the winningest program in college football. The Michigan Wolverines play in our country’s biggest stadium. 112,000 fans all dressed in orange and black can be a menacing sight. The Director, Dave Brandon was a former CEO of Domino’s Pizza and loves the energy in the field. He brings marketing success to the field with sky planes making M’s in the sky, or having a stealth bomber fly above the stadium or even a guy parachute on the field.

Like virtually every other college in the country Michigan’s entire athletic department budget this year all $133 Million dollars, is supporting 29 sports all funded by the success of the football program revenue. Mark Twain said once, “If you put all your eggs in one basket, you better watch your basket.” So, this guy watches his football program very carefully.
They have spent money on an indoor practice field that any professional NBA team would envy, yet the program that everyone has been chasing is Alabama. The Crimson Tide has received 2 National Titles in the last 3 years. The coach of that success is Nick Sabam who is the leader in rising salaries for coaches. He is paid over 5 Million dollars a year, more than Alabama’s chancellor. He feels that the return on the investment in him has been worth it because since 2007 Alabama’s profits have nearly tripled. It is the rare athletic department that is not drowning in red ink.
Now ESPN is interested in airing the games Michigan vs. Alabama since these two teams represent so much money in college football. Fans filled up Dallas stadium for the game that totaled 90,000 fans. Each school took home a record $10 Million dollars in ticket sales alone. The game will sell merchandise and bring interest for tickets back home and have other networks bidding for the opportunity to air the games on their networks.
For schools without the pedigree of Michigan or Alabama, football has become the fastest way to put their University on the map. Many universities have gotten a disproportionate amount of money to the college. During football season, statistical research has been done that the giving takes place during that time to the amount of 60 to 70% more money donated. Now we know why there is so much college football on TV on every network on a Sunday. Colleges are bringing back their football programs just to get a piece of that kind of revenue.
There is a constant pressure like an upside down pyramid from the coaches to the players. The players practice all summer to stay in shape so, being a college player means being in a year long cycle of practice. Last May the Michigan players trained with Navy Seals in San Diego. The worry is that there must be too much pressure on these young men to succeed not to even mention the pressure from the concussions they are exposed to possibly receiving.
As usual this life is all about money. No one really cares how boring TV is with College Football games being aired on every network at the same time on Sunday, it brings in money. No one cares about the mental and physical drain it puts on these young men, it brings in money for the school and no one cares that a football coach is the highest paid guy on campus, he will bring in money.

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