It is always said the NCAA rule book is too thick and full of archaic regulations. This causes confusion among the average football fans and disgust from the die-hard fan. However it is now time to ask some serious questions about one university and what they are doing.
In this day of recruiting violations and the NCAA coming down hard on certain schools, the University of Texas now is delving into a new realm. This has many wondering why the NCAA is sitting back and allowing the Longhorns this advantage.
In case you have missed the College Baseball World Series, ESPN has been advertising the new Texas Longhorn Television network. Broadcasting will begin July 1st and will pump excess money into the University of Texas athletic program. This unprecedented venture in college Athletics is being partnered by ESPN and the contract will run 20 years for a total of $300 million.
Texas is guaranteed to receive approximately $10 million for the first year of the contract, which in conjunction with the renegotiated Big 12 TV contract will net the university around $30 million in TV revenue alone. About half of the $10 million is presently earmarked for academic initiatives.
This also includes a partnership with IMG College. This is the company that runs the school’s marketing and licensing. In other words, they sell the uniforms and other fan favorites to buy promoting the school and its players. Yet none of the players will be able to reap in the windfall of money to the school.
However that is only part of the story. The NCAA rule book is devised, or so they say, to keep one school from having a recruiting advantage over another. This is so a school like Texas can’t outbid a smaller school for the services of a player. So the question is raised how this new Texas network can not be an advantage over every other school in the landscape.
Which also means other schools, like Ohio State, USC, Florida and Oklahoma will soon come out with their own network to compete against the obvious advantage Texas has today. And when that happens, viewership will come into play. Meaning each school with a network will be more enticed than ever to win in order to up their viewership totals and increase advertising.
Thus all this will go on, and the NCAA is still screaming about players selling memorabilia or getting some sort of stipend while the schools take in Millions and Millions! Players will still be used as “indentured servants” while the NCAA acts as their “agent” in order to garner big money.
Yet isn’t this programming by Texas and soon, other schools, a violation? For years the NCAA has acted as the head of college Athletics and secured contracts to be spread among all the schools. Even bowl games split the profits with all schools in a participating team’s conference. If Texas went to a bowl game and the game brought in 11 million, Texas cut of 5.5 million was split among all the teams in the conference.
This network means Texas will be all over, showing any practice and game. This can only spell trouble. Just off the top, if Texas lands in a bowl game, what contract supersedes another? For example, does ABC, the network with the Sugar Bowl contract, still get to televise the game? Or does Texas’s new network? This may not be a problem now, but the bigger the networks get it will be.
More and more the Universities are grabbing as much money as they can, following the NCAA’s lead. Yet the “student-athlete” is still the labor that makes the money-wheel go round. And for how much longer?