State of College Football 2022

APTOPIX Stanford Kansas St Football

College Football is back, and we are all excited to watch our favorite schools battle it out on the gridiron. However, there have been many changes to the structure of college football over the past few years. The NIL is in its infancy and made huge waves this offseason. The transfer portal is alive, well and creating exciting new rosters. Conference realignment is occurring, and we just heard about the expansion of the college football playoff to twelve teams. Finally, USC, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Miami all have new coaching staffs. These are all drastic changes for college football. The question is whether these changes make college football better or worse.


June 2021 shook college sports to its core when the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the NCAA in NCAA v. Alston, holding that the NCAA could not limit education related payments to student athletes. This decision led to the birth of the oft used term, NIL. The term NIL means name, image and likeness. Colleges, universities and the media no longer hold the monopoly on the profitability of student athletes. The athletes themselves may profit off their name, image and likeness as they represent themselves and their schools in competitive sport. There is no bigger sport in the NCAA then football. College football drives the revenue made off collegiate sports. The Power Five conferences generated over a billion dollars in revenue in 2021. The SEC leads the pack with over 830 million, followed closely by the Big 10 with 782 million in total revenue. Many of the college football stadiums in the Big 10 and SEC seat over 80,000 fans a game and they are ALWAYS full. It is easy to see that the new NIL will affect college football players the most.

The NIL is a good thing for college sports and college football. Scholarship athletes get their room, books and board paid for. However, they are not given any other opportunities to earn money, unless they take a job on the economy in their local town. This is especially apparent during the summertime. As a former Army ROTC scholarship cadet, I received a full ride for my education. However, the Army saw fit to provide a stipend to cadets in ROTC. The idea was to get scholarship cadets to focus on doing well in school without being worried about certain living expenses. Honestly, I see the NIL in the same light. When you consider how much money college sports has generated on the backs of college athletes, its obscene to think that the only compensation the athlete gets is an education. What is worse is that the education is not guaranteed if a player finds themselves injured to the point that carrying them on a scholarship is no longer tenable. For the player that finds themselves off the roster due to catastrophic injury, if they received decent NIL compensation, they might have the opportunity to finish their education. For the remaining players, they can afford gas and a meal on the weekends in the summertime. Further, they are given astronomical opportunities to network in the wider world of business. Lastly, the NIL allows athletes to consider whether a pro career is really for them. Perhaps playing at a big school and getting a great education while being handsomely compensated is enough.

We are already seeing school boosters pulling out the check book to help teams recruit top talent. The crimes of the past have now become legal. According to yahoo finance, an estimated 917 million has already been earned by college athletes with projected earnings to climb to 1.14 billion over the next year. The University of Texas boosters launched the Clark Field Collective, a $10 million fund to pay Longhorn athletes. Part of that fund includes a guarantee of 50k for each offensive lineman on top of whatever they are making already (which is projected to be upwards to $100k). The Miami Hurricanes has a booster whose offered $6000 per player and BYU also has a booster offering similar deals to their players. According to Gary Ferman of Canesport, a Florida business named American Top Team has finalized plans to offer $500 a month to all 90 scholarship Hurricane players per month averaging over $540,000 a year to the Cane football team. The University of Arkansas projects that every new football recruited to the Razorbacks will make at least $38,000 in 2022. USC has signed a media agency named Stay Doubted as a third-party NIL option for their student athletes. Stay Doubted in turn established a subsidiary named BLVD LLC which exclusively serves USC athletes in their search for NIL opportunities. It has been reported that BLVD LLC’s goal is to raise 75 million dollars by 2026. Caleb Williams, quarterback for the Trojans is reported to already have signed over a million dollars in NIL deals. Smaller schools like Kansas State have to be a bit more inventive in the NIL landscape, as they have already suffered the effects of losing basketball guard Nijel Pack to the University of Miami due to an 800k NIL deal he signed with LifeWallet (a company run by University of Miami billionaire alum John Ruiz). Like most schools, KSU has signed with a NIL licensing group for student athletes. KSU alums Aaron Lockett and Curry Sexton started a NIL Collective to aid in recruiting. It is likely KSU NIL opportunities (like many smaller schools) will have to be targeted to specific players rather than the brute force approach of teams like Texas, Miami and USC.

Right now, it seems like college sports in general is living in the NIL wild west. Money is raining on college athletes. There is even a website ( dedicated to ranking players according to the NIL projected valuation. Yet is the NIL really effecting where they attend school? For most athletes, I suspect and contend that the NIL will have little effect. Most kids grow up romanticizing where they want to play college sports. They want to be a Trojan, a Longhorn, a Hurricane, a Razorback or a Wildcat. We have already seen that players like KSU running back Deuce Vaughn rejecting the idea of leaving Kansas State for greener pastures. Vaughn is likely a first or second round NFL draft pick, yet he has chosen to remain loyal to KSU. Why? Because KSU gave him a chance when no one else would. He is also having a great experience at Kansas State. Money will be a factor in where players go, but it will not be the only factor. Players ultimately want to play. Many want their shot at a professional career. I suspect some players will likely forgo the opportunity of NIL richness for an opportunity to ready themselves for the NFL. The big schools will still get the big recruits. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Miami, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and Michigan will remain blue bloods. Those schools, amongst other big-time power 5 schools, will be in bidding wars for top talent. However, some of that top talent won’t ride the bench long with the transfer portal in place, thus equalizing the effect the NIL has on the recruiting landscape. The rich will stay rich, yet some of the smaller schools with rich boosters may rise.

Transfer Portal

The transfer portal makes college football better. The transfer portal helps aid in the longsuffering endeavor to build more parity into college football. More importantly, it gives opportunities to players on talent rich rosters to shine on another team. I think mobility is very important for college athletes who are talented but are pushed down the depth chart for one reason or another. Joe Burrow is the biggest example that comes to mind. He saw that the Buckeye coaching staff was not going to give him an opportunity to start. Burrow left and started at LSU, leading them to a national championship. The transfer portal also helps players when a coach gets fired or leaves for another team. Coach’s develop relationships with players. They go into their homes, sit down with their parents and tell them why they should come to their school. When a coach is fired, or leaves, the recruited players feel a certain amount of letdown. Some of them may wish to leave for other opportunities. When Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma for USC, Caleb Williams followed him there. Brent Venables likely would have given Williams a shot to start, but he had no investment in him as a player because he didn’t recruit him. The transfer portal also helps squads with depleted rosters. If a second or third team player at Alabama or Clemson knows they won’t get to start, then they could look around the landscape of college football and find a school they do wish to play at. This helps the gaining school and the player. The gaining school receives needed talent, and the player gets an opportunity to shine for NFL scouts.

The Best of the Rest

Overall, the NIL and the transfer portal makes college football much more interesting. Interesting is good. Interesting generates viewership. Viewership generates dollars. College football is growing and expanding. History is being made. Conferences are realigning and at some point, the landscape of college football will look more and more like the NFL as the years go by. At some point College Football will need to create an independent governing body to centralize regulation of the NIL, the transfer portal, recruiting and the schedule. As the college football playoff will expand to 12 teams in 2026 (possibly as early as 2024 depending on next year’s vote), real thought will need to be given to how the various conferences are constructed. Right now, TV contracts are driving conference realignment. Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 knowing they will collectively add over 350 million dollars in net value to a conference already earning 830 million a year. They want a bigger piece of the pie. PAC 12 teams are investigating opportunities to fill the gap the Sooners and Longhorns left in the Big 12. Ultimately, revenue will always drive the train. It is possible that the conferences will figure out realignment themselves. Perhaps we end up with four super conferences, doing away with the Group of Five and the Power Five all together. That seems to be the most logical choice; however, it will take a lot of work to get there. An independent governing body over college football will be the next big change. The state of college football is well. The future is bright! Enjoy the season!

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Hello fellow sports fans! My name is Joseph Jordan. Welcome to our page. Welcome to our website. I hope you are as deeply passionate about sports as I am. Julien and I have spent a lot of time writing our sports opinions on Facebook over the years. … Read More>>


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