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What Is The Future Of College Football? - (With Factors for Cause And Effect)

AI will be a factor, as will the state of colleges as we move onward.

2023 Pac-12 Football Media Day Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images

There’s so much going on in the world of college football!

NIL. Transfer portal. Conference expansion/realignment. The likely death of the Pac-12.

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Title: Navigating the Shifting Landscape of College Football: Factors to Consider

In a recent insightful monologue, Jon Johnston of Corn Nation delves into the potential future of college football and the various factors that could reshape the sport as we know it. Inspired by a quote from Chip Kelly, Johnston raises thought-provoking questions about the direction college football might take.

The core idea suggested by Kelly is to transform college football into a system where teams are divided into separate divisions based on their strengths. One division would consist of 64 powerhouse teams, while another would comprise the Group of Five schools. This approach, Kelly argues, would enable both divisions to compete for championships without adversely affecting the Olympic sports and other athletic programs.

One driving force behind this potential evolution is the immense revenue generated by TV deals and the influence of TV executives. Johnston posits that, with the increasing focus on TV dollars, the authenticity and genuine appeal of live sports become more valuable than ever. He argues that the unscripted nature of sports creates emotional connections for fans that scripted entertainment might lack in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).

Speaking of AI, Johnston introduces an interesting dimension. He explains how the rise of AI could lead to more generic and bland forms of entertainment. In this context, the unscripted nature of live sports would become even more attractive, drawing in a wider range of fans and increasing the value of live sporting events.

However, amidst these potential shifts, the emotional attachment fans have to their schools and teams should not be overlooked. The proposed divisional changes could dilute these emotional connections and traditional rivalries, a point that many college football enthusiasts might find troubling.

Johnston also highlights the potential impact of student athletes being considered employees. The ongoing debate about the status of college athletes and their compensation might significantly influence the landscape of college sports. This evolution could result in a more professional-like structure for college athletics, which might have implications for different sports and the concept of Title IX.

On the financial front, the changing dynamics of enrollment in colleges could exert pressure on athletic departments. With declining enrollments, universities might find themselves facing financial challenges that could impact their athletic programs. This potential financial squeeze, combined with the increasing cost of college education and changing student perspectives, could further drive the evolution of college athletics.

In the end, Johnston challenges readers to consider whether the potential changes in college football are truly detrimental or just part of the natural progression. He acknowledges that his perspective might be influenced by generational differences and encourages readers to share their own thoughts.

In this comprehensive exploration of the future of college football, Jon Johnston provides a balanced overview of various factors that could shape the sport’s trajectory. With a mixture of financial considerations, technological trends, and emotional attachments at play, the evolution of college football promises to be an intricate and multidimensional process. As fans, administrators, and stakeholders ponder the potential outcomes, it’s evident that the landscape of college athletics is in a state of transformation, with various stakeholders contributing to its complex narrative.