I introduced this idea in another thread, but an interesting development has taken place since then. So, I am creating a thread for the idea. I propose three rules for the NCAA to adopt:

1. The NCAA introduces a rule where if a players voluntarily elects to leave the team prior to the end of the season (bowl games included) that he must repay the full value of his scholarship for that season.

2. The NCAA introduces a rule where a coach who voluntarily leaves his school prior to the end of that team's season, and after the start of the current season, is ineligible to be hired by another NCAA school for a full year.

3. The NCAA introduces a rule where a school looking to fill a coaching vacancy cannot interview a coach with another NCAA school until after that school's current season is concluded (bowl games included).

The concept of the second and third rule would align the responsibility on coaches to something approximate to the same responsibility on players. Already, a player who transfers normally has to sit out the next season.

What is interesting is that Southern California is blocking NFL teams from interviewing their offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, even though USC's season is concluded. This is because, as I mentioned before, the NFL has a rule in place that their teams must obtain permission from an NCAA school before interviewing one of their coaches for an NFL position. USC has refused to give such permission. This NFL rule also applies to all other NFL teams. It prevents poaching of coaching staff's until after said team's season is concluded.

Interestingly, Kingsbury could have resigned from USC at any point in this season and interviewed for any NCAA opening he wanted to. Moreover, he could remain employed by USC and still interview anytime he wants with another school. So, the NCAA allows their schools to be vastly less restrictive than the NFL.

The NFL adopted this rule because the league understands the disharmony and alienation of competition that results when players and coaches jump ship during the season. In the NCAA, the regular season generally ends by the start of December. If a team earns a bowl slot, then their season ends a few weeks later. The national title game wraps up the entire college football season before the first full week of January is over. Is an extra month jump really worth the kind of chaos being created inside college football?

I think not!

Players work their butts off for the opportunity to play in a bowl game, where the strict rules of gifts and perks is relaxed a bit to allow players to stay in a nice hotel, have some team sponsored fun, and even grab a nice swag bag. The value of those bowl game swag bags averages about $300, not including the value of the championship rings. Winning those games also becomes a lifetime highlight memory for players and coaches. Ultimately, the players and alumni deserve -- I think -- to see their full talent among its football teams' coaching staff and players. In short, the school deserves to see its football team "put its best foot forward," in the annual bowl games they are fortunate enough to be invited to.

Now, the consensus view of the media is that players looking at the NFL have the "right" to put their needs first. Funny that this same media is also the ones paying the television rights fees for these bowl games, and that money, combined with the ticket sales, is what pays for these perks, plus the lavish bowl money that goes to the conferences to finance their sports programs. Ad ratings is how these media outlets recoup their costs. ESPN is losing millions of dollars each year and has had to layoff chunks of its staff to remain afloat. What happens to college football when people start to lose interest in the bowl games?

Hypothetical?

Think again! The average attendance for the 2018-19 bowl games is significantly down. In fact, the Gator Bowl played between NC State and Texas A&M saw the lowest attendance since 1952! And the economy is booming! Only 38,206 people attended the game. The stadium seats 67,814 (expandable to 82,000). That means the stadium was only 45% filled! The money from each person who attends, including hotel costs, is about $150. Do the math and the economic loss to the bowl game and Jacksonville was about $4.4 million! That's not chump change! And that's counting just the "normal" stadium capacity.

The number shocked me given that NC State was shooting for a ten win season for only the second time in school history! Texas A&M normally has a very loyal alumni base and therefore is seen as a quality bowl draw, as it is for NC State. If these two schools produced an historic low attendance, for what is considered a quality bowl game, when the economy is booming, then that is a warning flag!

The ratings are a closely guarded secret right now, but continued losses for the networks will eventually erode the money that the conferences receive.

This year about 35 players chose to sit out their team's bowl games. That was a number that eradicated the previous season's number, which at the time was a record. In short, the problem of players and coaches leaving schools high and dry for their bowl games has exploded. Four years ago, it was almost unheard of. Christian McCaffery is seen as the player who started the current trend three years ago, and in just a few years it has exploded. Next season it wouldn't be a surprise to see over 50 players opt out.

It's an economic choice for the players and it remains a free world. But, if said player is looking at millions playing in the NFL, then reimbursement of scholarship value is small in comparison. I expect schools to honor their end of the scholarship contract, and allow players all the time they need to use their five years of academic eligibility to earn a degree. And the players have the right to see their coaching staff remain intact until the season is over, including their bowl games. The kind of commitment therefore must work both ways.

If this isn't done, the entire bowl concept is likely to be gravely harmed. Ironically, the people who stand to lose the most (the sports media) seem to be encouraging more players to opt out of the games.

Ken