It Is Time For College Football To Move Forward With The Players Having A Voice That’s Heard

Aug 11, 2020, 3:49 PM
Bradlee Anae - Utah Utes - UCLA Bruins...
Utah Utes defensive end Bradlee Anae (6) celebrates a sack on UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) as Utah and UCLA play a college football game in Salt Lake City at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Courtesy of Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s time. It’s time for college football to move forward for the betterment of the game. Enough is enough. The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry largely due to the game of college football, yet, the lack of leadership and discord in which the NCAA conducts itself is not in conjunction with the product seen on the field and the love that America has for the game.

“Student-Athlete” History

For context, “”student-athlete” first surfaced when the widow of Ray Dennison, who died from a head injury in 1955 while playing in Colorado for the Fort Lewis A&M Aggies, filed for workmen’s compensation death benefits. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed with the defendant that Dennison’s widow was not eligible for benefits because the college was “not in the football business.”” The Aspen institute reported.

I believe that it is fair to say that the NCAA is now in the “football business”.

In the 2018-19 fiscal year, the NCAA reported a $1.1 billion in revenue, now that the Pac-12 and Big 10 have postponed their fall sports until the end of the year and the remaining three power five conferences could follow suit, the loss of fall football could cost the NCAA $4 billion, according to a report by ESPN.

More Than A Game

The game of college football has evolved into a sport in which communities and societies rely heavily upon. It transforms the sporting world within the United States year in and year out.

The NCAA is now, and has been for a while, in the “football business.”

Student-athletes are no longer student-athletes, they are not amateur athletes either. They are sporting icons and well-known figures throughout society.

The players are the reason that the game of college football exists, they deserve a voice. A Players Association is critical for the game to progress, there is no other way to best explain it.

The players are the most at risk, they put their bodies and mental health on the line to play. Coaches coach from the sideline, athletic directors watch games from a suite, the players bash heads and risk potential long-term health complications for the entertainment of others.

Uncertain Future

Yet here we are, living in a world where half of college football’s most prestigious conferences could play in 2020 and the other half will not.

Conversations continue to linger as to whether or not specific teams from those conferences that will not play in the fall may go ‘rogue’ and neglect their conference foes by leaving the conference and playing football in the fall against teams that are also willing.

If half the country plays and the other half doesn’t do teams from the conferences that do play attempt to poach players from the conferences that don’t?

And how on earth do the Pac-12 and Big 10 expect to navigate the logistical nightmare that spring football brings?

College football is living in a nightmare, something has to give.

Immediate Change Required

Finally, if I were still playing college football I would demand action. I would push the narrative that the players go on strike. For the game to move forward change is required. The players must have their voices heard.

Immediate change that is required, in my humble opinion –

The term “student-athlete” no longer exists and the players are seen for what they are, semi-pro athletes.

A players association is created and transparency between Universities, the NCAA and the players association exists.

A power five commissioner is introduced to bring consistency and collaboration across the power five platforms.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.




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