Ah, the irony. Just days after a group of NCAA presidents, with great fanfare, declare they have taken a stand for making college football some sort of academic pursuit, reality strikes again.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
Texas A&M, according to a flood of reports, is on the verge of agreeing to become the 13th member of the Southeastern Conference. And if Texas A&M joins up, at least one school, maybe more, from some other conference or conferences soon will do the same.
Suddenly, there was talk Friday that the BCS might not be so opposed to a “plus-one” system, essentially a four-team playoff, after all.
Neither of those events, of course, has a thing in the world to do with academics. They don’t have anything to do with student-welfare athlete welfare or APR scores or graduation rates or any of those things the presidents so somberly talked about at their retreat with NCAA president Mark Emmert.
They are all about money. Well, mostly about money.
Texas A&M’s impending move is also about a proud university deciding it just could no longer stomach the astonishing arrogance of the University of Texas, its long-time rival.
Any move toward a playoff, of course, is about money and nothing else. I haven’t talked to many college football players who like the idea of adding yet another game to the schedule. But just like student-athletes’ voices weren’t heard at the presidents’ high-brow retreat, neither will they be heard in the playoff debate in any real way.
It’s likely that Texas A&M’s move, if its consummated, will set off a chain reaction in college football. It almost happened last year, but commissioner Dean Bebe saved the Big 12 by bowing down at the feet of Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds and giving the richest program in the league everything it wanted.
Texas A&M finally just couldn’t take it any longer.
The presidents had their retreat. They pretended that they were going to regain “control” of college athletics, particularly college football. They demanded an APR score of 930 for teams to play in the postseason, meaning more football and basketball players than ever will be urged to stay away from demanding majors. Of course, that won’t come as a surprise to Emmert, who led the effort to provide an easier academic path for athletes when he was the LSU chancellor.
Anyway, a couple of days later we are back in the real world. College football is on the verge of more upheaval, not because somebody gave a player extra benefits or because not enough players graduated or because players got into trouble, but because money talks.