In the 1998 rom-com classic “You got Mail” – Mrs. O insisted I describe her favorite flick as a classic. discuss? Jo Fox told Kathleen Kelly that forcing her small family-owned bookstore to close is purely business.
“It’s not personal,” he asserts.
Kelly doesn’t buy it. She resists the supermarket owner’s famous reference to “Godfather” by shaking her head in disgust.
“I’m tired of it,” she says. “It all means it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people.”
It sure is. But is anyone talking about that?
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This hilarious, illuminating spectacle of Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan came to mind last week at the Big Ten Media Football Day in Indianapolis as Commissioner Kevin Warren, conference coaches, and Big Ten Network heads of talks addressed the changes taking place in college athletics.
Frustration with issues around conference realignments, name, image, likeness and transfer gate was visible – Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz’s stance was particularly impressive, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh lamented the loss of the regional conferences – but the majority view was that the “new” college football is Business, not personal.
College football is business, not personal
In the current slang, “that’s what it is.”
This is how Maryland coach Mike Locksley described his team eventually having to travel across 2,500 miles and three time zones to play UCLA and Southern California when the two West Coast teams begin playing in the Big Ten in 2024.
Acceptance of change is often healthy. Don’t sweat what you can’t control. But if you’re not in the least bit bothered by the increasing professionalism of college sports, I’m wondering what you want from primarily amateur athletics (other than lower ticket prices, cheaper parking, and more competitive non-conference games)?
Interested in regional competitions? Does it bother you if athletes are able to move as much as they want? (The NCAA announced last week that it is close to removing restrictions on player transfers several times.) Worried that the locker room chemistry will flare up when the starting quarterback earns $2M in zero money while the tight second team makes $10,000?
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Yes, this is personal. And this is coming from someone who is a staunch NIL supporter who is selfishly excited about getting the Bruins and Trojans on board, as well as a 16-team playoff formation (the selfless aspect I feel for the athletes who will have to cross the country. And footballers forced into the Additional matches to make more money for organizations that insist it’s not just about money; hey, it’s complicated)
It would be naive to expect college football to step into the water. I’m not in favor of going back to the previous player empowerment era. But will it take another hit towards becoming an NFL 2.0? Some argue that we are already there, but we are not. Players are looking into unions – see Penn State – but legally they are not college employees yet. And be careful what you wish for in this thread, athletes, because staff can be fired if they drop three passes in a game or constantly trip over the balance beam.
What the fans want
what or what an act The fans want? Perhaps it will suffice to watch your team on TV, unconcerned with the inner bureaucratic work of the sport, fully satisfied with a drink that does not require the work of a second job to endure.
This may be the case. A Twitter survey last week suggests that 71% of fans will continue to watch as much college football as possible, regardless of whether conferences are divided into haves and have-nots. (For example, the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference form separate 24-team premier leagues that face off in a national championship match.) Twitter’s audience is geared towards younger people, so the numbers will probably take out a decent portion of the older traditionalists, but those dinosaurs, ahem, aren’t the future.
On the other hand, warning signs cannot be ignored. The same survey showed that 26% would only watch top-tier college football, not a watered-down Pac 12, for example, which doesn’t bode well for conferences hoping to avoid becoming second-tier leagues.
Fortunately, the product in the field (including the range!) remains basically the same. This pseudo-dementia is about recognizing the suits, and offering some sympathy outside their windowless worlds, that college football business does affect character.
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Keeping CEO coaches on personal matters at bay is somewhat understandable, if not a bit disappointing. They’re driven to eliminate the distraction, yes, but it won’t kill them to just say once “I feel for the fans about it.”
“I don’t know if I was impressed (with the changes). I just know we have to adapt,” said Ohio State coach Ryan Day. “That’s what you have to focus on.”
This is to talk about the business side. But just under Dai’s veneer, I dare say that a small piece of character was pierced through.
“There are nights when you don’t sleep well because you don’t know what’s coming,” he said.
Join the club, coach. It is personal to many people.