Sports Revelation

IJPC: When it comes to football, maybe the NCAA is finally burying “Student” from the Student Athlete

This past week marked the beginning of NFL Super Bowl Media day. However, before we officially dive head first into this oncoming Tsunami, I’m going to look back at a smaller wave, the NCAA College Football Tournament. I say smaller, but ratings coming in seem to say the NCAA is trying to poke it’s head into the same spotlight shinning down upon deflated balls, athletes repeating sentences like parrots, and a head coach with the personality of a sheet of sand paper.

The first ever NCAA Football Tournament is now concluded and I would say it was a success. Not only did an underdog win, (don’t we love the little underdogs in March Madness?) but ratings were good. And if ratings were good then money was made. And you can bet, ESPN needed the ratings to be good. ESPN needed to see a return for their investment of more then $7.2 Billion for the rights to broadcast the games of the NCAA Football Tournament for the next 15 years.

The first round of the playoff games, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, had 28.2 million and 28.3 million viewers. Both of these number were up from last years NCAA Championship between Florida State and Auburn, which had 25.5 million viewers. This year’s Championship game, between Ohio State and Oregon, had 33.3 million people taking time to watch the student athletes.

What do these numbers really mean?

Well for starters lets talk money. Ian Gordon writes a wonderful article breaking down who got paid what amount of cash. ESPN was able to sell 30 second commercial ads for 1 million dollars each. The NCAA reportedly made $608 million from the tournament. The 5 power football conferences received $50 million, and an additional $6 million will go to conferences that had teams in the Final Four. Finally, both head coaches and AD’s stand to earn additional monies for their successful seasons.

Money alone does not paint the entire picture. The NCAA Football Championship Game has become, well, another Superbowl. There is a media day where children (for $12) and adults (for $17) can purchase tickets to get pictures taken with life-sized replica player photographs. Seems worth it… Bill Plaschke gives an accurate and eye opening account of the event quoting how many players were taken back by the lavish event. What this event has become doesn’t seem very amateur. It appears clearly the opposite.

Speaking of the “opposite,” how close is the NCAA to bridging the gap towards the most watched reality show in the world, the Super Bowl. Well, Last year, 112.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the blow out that was Super Bowl XLVIII. So, no, the ratings for the NCAA football championship has not yet  reached the viewer levels of the Super Bowl. I’m sure the Shield will never allow this to happen. I do see the numbers for the NCAA Football Championship continuing to rise. These numbers include both total viewers and total money made by all parties, except of course the athletes.

As the NCAA numbers chase after NFL’s numbers, the event will continue to get more and more out of control. The event which used to be a single game between the top two football teams in the nation will be turned into a money making circus. If you continue to watch these games, then you support this circus. And this is okay. However, if you are one who thinks the numbers and money are growing dangerously, then why not do something about it? If the total viewers dropped, the ratings would go down. This would cause the chaos and the amount of money associated with the NCAA Football Tournament to possibly level off.  Is your life any better for watching one game?  I know it would be a bit extreme to say, “Cut your cable cord,” but you could always not watch the game. You could go for a run, or go to a museum, Or, you could go to an establishment that is already showing the game like a wonderful craft brewery, and grab a good tasting drink while watching just watch half the game. Baby steps are good. Baby steps can help us start a revelation and make a difference. It’ll be fun.

Let’s start a Revelation!

Let’s Enjoy Sport Responsibly!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *