A Workable Playoff Scenario, And Why It’s Bad For Virginia Tech

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Here in the Dead Zone of sports, one of the most common and misunderstood
topics is that of a college football playoff. Many fans (even whose occupations
would give them the background to understand the factors involved) view this
issue through “fan eyes” instead of approaching it the same way the
decision makers in the process do. Those fans are then confused when the
athletic directors and school presidents don’t act as fans would. In this
article, I will explain what I see are the issues currently preventing a college
football playoff, propose a workable solution to those issues, and then explain
some of the unintended consequences of those actions.

Collegiate athletics effectively operates under the umbrella of the National
Collegiate Athletic Association, a non-profit corporation comprising of roughly
1,200 institutions at multiple levels of participation. The Power Schools are
(currently) 65 institutions in the six major conferences, plus Notre Dame, all
of which are members of the NCAA.

As a matter of fact, those 66 institutions represent the vast majority of the
money, interest, and power in the NCAA. I’ve used the analogy in the past: the
Power School institutions are the equivalent of the UN Security Council, and the
NCAA is the UN General Assembly. And just as with the United Nations, there
exists a degree of dynamic tension between the two groups. In the NCAA
Basketball Tournament, the Power Schools represent the large majority (as they
do overall in collegiate athletics) of the revenue generation, the interest from
fans, and the sponsorships. However, the majority of the revenue those Power
Schools generate for the NCAA Basketball Tournament is distributed to the
mid-major conferences.

The Power Schools have the greatest degree of independence of the NCAA in
college football. In college football, the Power Schools effectively control the
postseason, at the cost of not being able to hold a playoff. The NCAA sanctions
the college football postseason, but has not control over it. In NCAA eyes, the
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