Jul 27th, 2021 |
42: Déjà vu All Over Again for Southern Football
The rumors are confirmed: Texas and Oklahoma are indeed bolting the Big 12 for the SEC. Is this the end of college sports as we knew them? We can only hope so. What appears to be the beginning wave of another shake-out in the big-time college football sweepstakes is neither revolutionary nor unforeseeable. Instead, what we are witnessing is perhaps the logical endpoint of an imperial march by SEC football powerhouses through the rest of the South/Southwest territory that began in earnest just after WWII. From the Seven Sinners’ defiance of the NCAA’s “Sanity Code” in 1950, to the formation of the College Football Association in 1977, to the University of Georgia’s and Oklahoma’s landmark Board of Regents lawsuit against the NCAA in 1981, to Autonomy legislation in 2014, and dominance in the College Football Playoff since 2015, Southern Football has pushed brazenly for superiority and market dominance in college football for nearly 70 years. In the process, it has made enemies in other regions and fostered a relationship with the NCAA built as much on mutual suspicion as mutual interests. Now, in the aftermath of the Alston decision and the NCAA’s failure to deliver on its promises of favorable protective legislation from Congress, big-time Southern football is doing what it does best: forcing structural change by brute force. This episode begins an analysis of Southern football’s imperial aspirations and the latest chapter in the 70-year battle between college football’s “haves” and “have nots.” The inevitable game of musical chairs in this iteration of football-driven realignments will have ripple effects for all downstream market participants. What does will this mean for the NCAA, big-time basketball interests, and the rest of college sports? And more immediately, what does this mean for the NCAA’s/Power 5’s campaign for federal protections and immunities in the Senate? This episode frames the issues for a broad-based discussion of how the perfect storm is evolving into the most consequential era in college sports history.