College Football $aturday In America

Well today is Saturday, and as usual if you are a college football fan, this is YOUR day…I mean Saturday is the couch potato special day of the week, break out the beer and chips and assorted munchies because it’s going to be a LONG day! If you are dedicated to watching college football you can do so by getting up at 9 am (west coast time) to watch Notre Dame at Pittsburgh and continue on until 730 pm (10:30 east coast time) and watch the last televised college football game of the day, Arizona at USC…There are a whopping, I just counted them, total of THIRTY SIX college games being televised today!….

Of course they are not being broadcast in consecutive order and a lot of them overlap and many are regional broadcasts anyway….For instance, I live in San Francisco so I can see the PAC 12 football games like Stanford, Cal, USC etc being broadcast on the PAC 12 channel if they are not picked up by the major channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN or ESPN2….I know I have touched on this topic before, but let’s take a closer look…. Somebody is making a TON of money on these “amateur” contests and it’s sure not the players…Let’s check out some numbers…

Of course, I cannot see the Big 10 games broadcast on the Big 10 network, only if they are broadcast on the major channels, like today Michigan State is playing Nebraska on ESPN, so since I get that channel, I can see that game….But it doesn’t take a whole lot of smarts to see somebody is making BILLIONS off of all these college games, the various networks and of course the individual schools…

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These charts and statistics are boring, huh? But they ARE the bottom line…This is a relatively new phenomenon according to my Google sources: “It’s no surprise that college sports are big business for schools with elite Division I teams. Between TV contracts, merchandising and investments in athletic programs, colleges in the United states generate hundreds of millions of dollars every year. How much money specific sports, schools or programs generate varies wildly according to the popularity of the sport and how successful a team is….Most fans are AGAINST paying college athletes….

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Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) dives for the end zone to score a touchdown against Navy safety Parrish Gaines (2) and others during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Landover, Md. Notre Dame won 49-39. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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No college sport generates more money every year than football. In 2012, Business Insider reported that the University of Texas’ football program generated more than $95 million the previous season, the most of any college in the United States. These revenues come largely from broadcast rights, ticket sales and merchandising. In 2010, the collective revenue of the 15 highest-grossing football programs in the United States was more than $1 billion. In many schools, the revenues generated by successful football and basketball programs fund the entire athletic department.”

Although a recent bid by Northwestern University to start a student athlete union has been struck down by the courts, at least there is some relief in sight for the athletes themselves. And it is high time, because the NCAA and the schools are getting filthy rich off of these student athletes, most of whom are on paid sports scholarships which until recently were not enough to offset the actual cost of attending a major college…

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Again, according to my Google sources: “Division I college football and men’s basketball teams made a combined profit of $1.7 billion in the 2013-14 school year, according to federal data. And that money is soaring with new broadcast deals and money makers like the college football playoff system. The (new revised) stipends are going to football and basketball players. But they are also available to athletes in the “non revenue” sports such as soccer, lacrosse, baseball and volleyball. The stipends come after a long fight by advocates for players.

For the first time, the NCAA this year is allowing schools to give cash stipends to cover the cost of things like late-night snacks, student fees, laundry money and movies. Scholarships cover the core expenses of college such as tuition and room and board. The new stipends are supposed to close the gap between scholarship money and what it actually costs to attend school.

The stipends, available at most of the country major sports programs, range from about $2,000 to $5,000 a year, although some schools are reportedly offering a few thousand more than that. That may not sound like a lot, but that’s real money for students from poorer families. Some star athletes have complained about going to bed hungry at night because they couldn’t afford to buy extra food while burning up extra calories during training and competition. Compensation is a touchy issue for college athletes. They can bring in big bucks for their schools but, as amateurs, don’t get a penny of salary.

Strict rules bar schools or boosters from giving cash — and even meals or clothing — to student athletes. Coaches who help players travel home after a death in the family can draw NCAA sanctions.

The new stipend “is a modest amount, but it’s definite solid progress,” said Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association, which is trying to win recognition as the first union for college athletes. Huma estimates the stipends will cost schools a total of about $100 million — a drop in the bucket compared to what athletics brings in. The NCAA says it does not know how much is being spent.”

Yeah right! So enjoy your special day, college football fans, and root on your beloved TCU Horned Frogs or your Arkansas Razorbacks or your Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, or like me my Stanford Cardinals vs the Colorado Buffalo’s or the Cal Bears vs the Oregon Ducks..I cannot deny the attraction of collegiate rivalries that I grew up with, and in a way the college game is more pure than the pros in the NFL, who are definitely in it for the money….So enjoy the glory, the glamour, the heartbreak, the exultation, the pageantry and circus that is American college football; it’s not going anywhere soon…

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But alas, there are 15,588 senior student athletes playing football. Only an average of 256 of those athletes will be drafted into the NFL. That’s 1.6% of all NCAA seniors playing football that get drafted. . 008% of all high school athletes get drafted. Let’s hope that thanks to the recent increased stipends to their athletic scholarships, the majority of them will graduate and get those precious college degrees and find work at some far less dangerous venues than professional football…

They are after all, STUDENTS first and athletes second anyway, and if playing collegiate sports is their only way to get a college degree,and they can avoid life long debilitating injuries, then the system is working for them….So enjoy the pomp and the pageantry and the cheerleaders and the raucous, packed stadiums, the  howling crowds and the tradition and the decades long rivalries…..

I know I will….Oh and can you please pass the dip?

For more information on NCAA revenue sources see:finance.zacks.com › Investing › Investing for Beginners

For more information on increased college stipends see:
money.cnn.com/2015/09/04/…/extra-cash-college-athletes/CNNMoney

For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com

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