What’s the use of our college football stadiums nowadays? Despite bringing us decades of great games and history, it’s become more and more common for universities to avoid playing on their home turf. Four-to-five football games are no longer enough to justify taxpayer-funded stadiums for major universities.
Most recently, the University of Texas has been looking to expand their global brand by sending their team out of the country for a non-conference game (Mexico City, anyone?). The Longhorns already lose a home game once every two years when they face rival Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. Also, Texas normally plays host to a subpar FBS team such as UTEP or New Mexico, not exactly the kind of riveting match ups Longhorns fans are dying to see in person.
Other state schools are starting to follow suit. Texas A&M now plays Arkansas in AT&T Stadium each year and will add a game in NRG Stadium in Houston. In addition to these games, Kyle Field will host Ball State, Nevada and the always exciting November SEC-FCS matchup featuring Western Carolina.
Texas Tech and Baylor now situate their rivalry at Arlington, Texas where despite the Bears having a better football team, are clearly outnumbered fan-wise year-in and year-out. Is that worth losing a home game on your turf every other year?
Even with teams starting to beef up their schedules against fellow power five conference teams, the games are not coming at home. Students who pay tickets as a part of their tuition are being cheated out of big-time matchups to expand the brands globally.
Yes, it is a business. However, if a business does not see a use for something, it figures out a way to cut whatever is unnecessary. Instead of cutting it though, state-funded universities are expanding their stadiums and raising tuition rates. Since 2005, the University of Texas tuition has risen every year except 2012. From 2011 to 2012, the tuition rate decreased one dollar.
Some may complain about Notre Dame flying its team to Ireland. Yes, the Fighting Irish are seemingly the ones who started this global expansion plan. But, in fairness, Notre Dame is a private institution that is not reaching out to their state government for any kind of funding.
Teams are starting to move away from the stadiums where the alums, boosters and students have put time and money into the product. This is unfair to the students and the alumni who cannot afford a major trip elsewhere. If college football wants a global brand, it needs to move its national championship game off of U.S. soil. Have a true neutral site for the game which matters most. Make the national championship game the biggest spectacle it can be. It is the game the entire world should be watching.
If the teams aren’t using their stadiums, demolish them. Put something in that students will actually be able to use and enjoy, or sell the land. Don’t let it rot for a season featuring four games against teams from subpar conferences. If nothing else… stop asking for our money to fund stadiums that seem to get less action with each passing season.
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