During ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday morning, the GameDay crew discussed the changing landscape of college football and the seismic shift that is occurring with name, image and likeness, conference realignment, and proposed playoff expansion.
Kirk Herbstreit voiced his concerns about the SEC’s move to add Texas and Oklahoma to the league, as well as the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 alliance that was formally announced this week.
“There’s so much going on all at once,” Herbstreit said. “I think that’s the reason there’s kind of like a step-back for college football fans and administrators. I think there’s a few things – number one, I’m concerned about (SEC Commissioner) Greg Sankey now on an island with Texas and Oklahoma, what that has done to the other leaders. I’m concerned now with this alliance.
“At some point, you have to bring everybody together. Everybody’s got to put their personal feelings aside, and if college football is going to grow and deal with all these issues, everybody’s got to get in the same room. We either need one voice as the commissioner of college football, or these Power Five conference commissioners need to work together.”
Herbstreit also sees a problem with playoff expansion from the standpoint of more players deciding to opt out if their teams aren’t in the playoff picture.
“The other issue, to me, is this new generation of fan and player – games don’t matter,” he said. “You get to a game where your team’s trying to get to a playoff, and as soon as they’re out of the playoff, games don’t matter. Like, our generation, we don’t understand that.”
David Pollack said he hopes NIL helps keep some players from opting out.
“If you’re getting paid to be an endorser, you’ve got to be on the field,” Pollack said. “So, I’m hoping that if you’re getting paid money and your company’s backing you, it’s because you’re going to be on the field representing their product. So, I’m hoping that keeps more players on the field. Because your product, it is what it is. That’s why we talk about expansion. It gets pretty weak at the end of the season when people start dropping like flies.”
Desmond Howard added that while NIL might cause players to stick around longer, conference realignment is out of their control.
“(NIL) can encourage players to stay an extra year, without a doubt,” Howard said. “But that has nothing to do with conference realignment, because that’s out of the players’ hands. That’s about the commissioners and the presidents and the universities.”
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