38 hours. That’s roughly how long it took for University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe to resign after the Tigers football team planned a boycott of all team-related activities. This comes after a nearly three-month timeline of administrative and racial issues at the university and the president doing little to change it.
The events have extended back to August, according to Missouri’s campus newspaper, The Maneater. This was when Graduate Student Health Care was cut by the University, one of the reasons for graduate student Jonathan Butler beginning a hunger strike early in November.
One important point to take away from this event is that, once again, college football is the ultimate arbiter at many colleges around the country. This is nothing new. With the amount of money and recognition college football brings to a school, it is a force to reckon with.
For example, Appalachian State University, a small school located in Boone, North Carolina, is known for mostly one thing outside of the state: its upset of perennial football power Michigan in 2007 on a blocked field goal on the last play of the game.
Even Google agrees. When you search the school in the search bar, the third suggestion is “Appalachian State Michigan.”
Fast forward to 2015, the first year that the College Football Playoff began, and schools are reaping in the benefits of something that has turned into one of the most lucrative rewards in collegiate athletics.
Five of the ten conferences in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision saw an increase in their NCAA payouts of greater than 100 percent. The Mountain West Conference saw a 553 percent increase in its payout, the Mid American Conference had a 488 percent increase and Conference USA’s payout increased by 446 percent.
As far as the big conferences are concerned, the Big Ten, Southeastern, Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences all had payouts of $63 million or greater, according to FOX Sports. The Atlantic Coast Conference had only a measly $58 million paid to them. Poor ACC boys.
Either way, with the schools raking in this type of money for their conferences, the schools have to prioritize college football.
So when they decide to protest like the University of Missouri players did, they have much greater influence on an institution.
The fact that college football has become so powerful is ridiculous.
Television networks (mainly ESPN and CBS) are paying lucrative contracts to broadcast games, while schools now have massive recruiting budgets. All of this for a game that, in the grand scheme of things, does not mean much.
“Most of us will be going pro in something other than sports,” the old NCAA commercials would read. The statistics say that is very true, according to research done by the NCAA and data from the NFL.
So how has college football grown into this massive enterprise that can now play such a huge role in the stepping down of a school president?
You tell me, because I have run out of ideas.