Football

Postscripts: New College Sports Model, Plus is Brett Yormark Right on ‘Big 2’?

Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the press during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What’s going on in the Big 12 and beyond? I expand and explain every Sunday in Postscripts at Heartland College Sports, your home for independent Big 12 coverage.

This week, well, we’re getting close to some radical stuff, on Deion and is Brett Yormark miscalculating the landscape in this key area?

 

The New College Sports Model

This was a big week for the “This isn’t gonna be your daddy’s college sports model anymore” crowd.

Many outlets were on it this week, no one more than Yahoo! Sports’ Ross Dellenger.

Early in the week he and others reported that there seems to be momentum to a settlement in House v. NCAA, which would settle the current House antitrust lawsuit.

With the settlement, Dellenger wrote it would help “usher into the sport a new model that features sharing revenue with athletes.”

A settlement means two things. First, it means settling what the athletes are suing for, which is “back pay” for NIL and broadcasts that could approach $1 billion. Second, it means setting the landscape for what the future might look like. We’ll get to that.

 

Then, Dellenger reported that Nick Carparelli, who is the director of Bowl Season, said that he expects NIL to become an “in-house” produce for universities. For football, he envisioned it as an opportunity for student-athletes to sign contracts that would require them to play in bowls and College Football Playoff games to eliminate opt-outs.

He’s not the first to propose or say this. We will probably end up with a contract model and NIL will likely fall under a school umbrella. I’d be against eliminating opt-outs for bowl games, though (I can see why Carparelli would want it, though). You don’t NEED a clause for the CFP. Players aren’t going to opt out of that.

Dellenger wrapped it up into a neat little ball at the end of the week by laying out what the full vision could look like — power schools compensating athletes $300 million over 10 years. A revenue distribution cap (in this case a salary cap). Additional scholarship costs. Expansion of sport specific roster sizes. The option to fully fund scholarships for Olympic sports.

As you might expect, it’s a lot to take in and everyone appears to be in a hurry. Apparently there is a deadline, about 40 days from now, to figure out a radical new compensation model that will assuredly create a chasm of haves and have-nots in college sports.

I know a model like this is coming. There’s really no fighting it now (even though the NCAA will probably try to find a way). This is why the Big 12 surviving was so important. Had it gone the way of the Pac-12, who knows where those remaining eight schools would be or how well positioned might they be for this new era.

Imagine being Oregon State and Washington State right now and knowing this is coming. I mean, do those schools really have a shot in this new world?

Maybe, maybe not. But at least the Big 12 does.

 

Deion’s Week

Early this week The Athletic published a piece on the 53 players that left the program in the first months after coach Deion Sanders took over. Some chose to transfer out. Many chose to stick it out and try to make the team but were told they didn’t.

You’ve probably heard a lot about this story all week. I read Max Olson’s piece and it was terrific. It was also not nearly as inflammatory as I think it’s been made out to be. The players Olson spoke to didn’t eviscerate Sanders. In reality, many of them knew they might get cut when he arrived, they approached it like competition and in the end didn’t make the cut. Many of them were more stung by the “how” it happened than anything else.

Many mentioned they didn’t have a personal relationship with Sanders. One, offensive lineman Jake Wiley, knew it was done when he got a “Good Luck fellas” text from one of the offensive line coaches … and the coach then removed he and four other linemen from it.

That makes the aftermath of the Xavier Smith portion of the story all the more head-scratching. Smith was a safety who was cut by defensive coordinator Charles Kelly on Sanders’ behalf. His criticism?

 

“He was destroying guys’ confidence and belief in themselves,” Smith said. “The way he did it, it could’ve been done with a little more compassion.”

This is probably the most inflammatory quote in the piece (and on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d rate it a four). But this is what prompted Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders to tell social media followers that “Ion even remember him tbh. Bro had to be very mid at best.”

I have no issues with kids being kids on social media. Beefs are gonna happen. But then Deion entered the chat and started interacting with those trolling his son. Understandable.

But his “Lawd Jesus” comment about defensive back Jaheim Ward, who is at Austin Peay and hasn’t even been to Colorado, didn’t sit well with me.

Sanders isn’t a traditional coach and he never will be. For those that appreciate that, he’s an icon. For those that don’t, they’re waiting for him to fail. That’s life when you’ve emerged as one of college football’s most polarizing figures. But even the hint of trolling former players on social media is going to do some damage to your ability to recruit, whether it’s high school players or transfers. I think that’s just a fact.

What’s also fact is this:

Sanders has a player retention problem. That matters if you’re trying to build something special in Boulder.

Oh, by the way, if you’re wondering, Smith was an FCS All-American at Austin Peay and transferred to UTEP after last season.  

Don’t Sleep on the Big 2, Brett

The Big 12 annual meetings were in Arizona earlier this week and while there, commissioner Brett Yormark spoke to the media about the relationship between the current commissioners in the Power 4 and described it the chemistry as “the best it’s ever been.”

Yormark is closing in on the end of his second year, so you can forgive him for not knowing much about the roiling Big 12 before he arrived. Also, compared to last year and the Pac-12 drama, of course its better.

He also said that a partnership between the Big Ten and the SEC is “overstated.”

He may want to have a conversation with former Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby about what happens when you don’t mind the backyard. Those two leagues already forced the Big 12 and the ACC to take less College Football Playoff money because they could, and you’ve expressed your unhappiness about it.

It only takes one opportunity for them to do something that could destroy what you’ve helped rebuild.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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