Does it sound crazy? Maybe so, but FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt predicts that the future of conference realignment could include teams being dropped from conferences, once the top-tier programs realize they’re carrying dead weight.
Klatt addressed this issue recently on The Joel Klatt Show and went in depth on how this could impact the future of college football.
“You know what’s next for us in college football? I told you this is never going to stop, right? I wasn’t lying. This is never going to stop. Because it’s been about who can we add to increase value so that we all make more money,” Klatt said. “Well pretty soon it’s going to start being about who can we drop? I know people think I’m crazy and look at me kind of sideways. That’s absolutely coming. Because again there’s not an unlimited source of money and the money then has to get smarter.”
Klatt went on to say, “And I know a lot of college football fans don’t like this conversation because I’ve said the word money too much,” Klatt said. “But the bottom line is like that’s irrelevant in this model. And I’m going to get to a place where I think that there are some fixes that will make the sport better, but for right now you have to understand that what is going to be entering into college football is really poor economies of scale. Think about it. Now you’ve got all these members, only a few of them are actually driving the overarching value. Almost like taxpayers, right?”
There is an element of this playing out currently in the ACC, where the Board of Directors endorsed a new revenue-sharing model that benefits the top programs who drive a lot of the revenues for the league. If nothing else, it seems like that would be an obvious model that other conferences may try to duplicate.
Klatt added, “You know, only a certain number of taxpayers actually pay all the taxes while only a certain number or a number of teams in every one of these conferences are actually driving the valuation for the entire conference. Well, pretty soon, those teams are going to be like, ‘Hey, we can’t handle the dead weight at this point. Having X, Yor Z school in our conference is just diluting the conference. It’s diluting it in two ways. One, we’ve got to chop up the pie in more pieces. And then the other is we’ve got to enter them into the schedule so we don’t even get all the big boys facing each other as often as they should, because we’ve got to dilute the schedule with that other team that really doesn’t derive any value.”
If Klatt is right, then programs like Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Boston College should start to get worried.
“So at some point in the next 10 years, you’re gonna hear a conversation about like, ‘hey, is this a good fit for this school or this program within this conference,’” Klatt said. “That feels like Game of Thrones, but you think we’re not in Game of Thrones, college football is Game of Thrones. Look at it, because of USC and UCLA’s move and they had no other choice. They had no other choice because they have to get in line with the smart money that I was talking about a little bit before.”
Regardless of the future, we can all agree that the wild ride of conference realignment does not appear to be ending any time soon.