Is college football amateur athletics or a business?

It’s hard to make the case that college football players are amateurs when their games are decided based on revenue rather than merit.  As reported in ESPN, the Rose Bowl–a prestigious college football game–would be willing to select an inferior team if that inferior team would lead to more ticket and merchandise sales.  From the mouth of Rose Bowl management committee chairman Scott Jenkins:

Let’s say Wisconsin was the next-highest-ranked team, but right next to Wisconsin was Minnesota…That would be a situation where everybody agreed we could jump Wisconsin to take Minnesota. We use that as an example of an extraordinary circumstance. What we found is when schools come in multiple years, the first year they come, people are really excited and come out in droves and have a wonderful time. The second year, people are excited but fewer people come out, they buy less merchandise, and by the third year, there’s a substantial drop-off.

In that circumstance, everybody agreed for the betterment of the game we should have the ability to jump a team like that.”

For the “betterment of the game” does not mean that the better team would be chosen; it means the financial betterment of the bowl committee.

I do not have a problem with College Bowls being profit-oriented.  However, if univerisities and bowls are not only making money off of college football players but selecting the championship teams based on revenue rather than merit considerations, I think it is time to start paying college football players.

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