Expanding the championship field to four teams in two years, in our humble yet meaningless opinion, is a step in the right direction for college football. On the other hand, the so-called “access games” — high-dollar bowls that will act as semifinal sites in some years and pair teams from major conferences in others — is nothing more than living proof that college athletics bigwigs are in fact capable of taking tangled wires and 1) making them more tangled and 2) lighting them on fire in the process.
Cynicism aside, a college football playoff brings in a lot of money, though just how much and to whom has been largely unknown. Until today. ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that the five power conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) will receive an average of at least $91 million annually over the 12-year life of the playoff. That will be about $75 million more than the other conferences — Big East, Mountain West, Mid-American, Conference USA and Sun Belt — will receive during that same span.
College football’s playoff will reportedly be worth about $470 million annually according to ESPN, which will have the broadcast rights to the playoff. After expenses, commissioners have apparently decided 75 percent of the revenue will go to power conferences with 25 percent going to smaller conferences.
That alone will give the power conferences about $51.75 million annually plus payouts from access bowls. The Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC should earn another $40 million from the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and the ACC would earn about $27.5 million from the Orange Bowl. If a Big Ten or SEC team plays in the Orange Bowl in a given year, that conference would earn the other $27.5 million in payout. Notre Dame, which also has access to the Orange Bowl, will be paid less, although the exact amount is not known.
There will also be $37.5 million in revenue distribution for schools that meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate requirement. Each school that meets the minimum APR requirements will receive an extra $300,000.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.