The Virginia Tech Friday Q&A: The Football Landscape, The Recruiting Calendar, And More

Virginia Tech
In what kind of an environment will Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry be coaching in two years from now? (Ivan Morozov)

1) If the “inevitable” football breakaway happens, will Virginia Tech be one of the schools that goes with the big boys? Will all the funding pushes and facility upgrades, along with whatever “name cache” the program has, be enough to carry us through? And how much of a window, timewise, do Whit/Pry have to make sure we are included, based on on-field developments? – SBP94

Chris Coleman: I wish I knew where it was headed. We’ve all talked about a football “breakaway” for awhile now, and I have no idea whether it will happen or not, the legalities of such things, etc. Laws are different in every state.

For example, read this article that came out a few days ago about a proposed bill in California that would share revenue with football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players for in-state schools. I have no idea whether that law will make it through or not, but for the sake of argument let’s say that it does.

At that point, Oregon wouldn’t have much of a chance of going head-to-head with USC when it comes to recruiting a football player, and I’m guessing that rule would basically give the Trojans a monopoly of the West Coast talent. For example, in the 2022 recruiting class, here’s where the top 10 players in the state of California signed…

1: USC
2: USC
3: Georgia
4: Arizona
5: Stanford
6: USC
7: Ohio State
8: Oregon
9: Oregon
10: Notre Dame

Why go to Oregon, Notre Dame, Arizona or Georgia when you can go to USC and potentially make $200k a year (most of which is earned after you graduate, which is one thing I do like about the law…it encourages guys to not transfer and to pursue their degree hard).

On the other hand, how much would that wreck USC’s athletic department? If 50% of their football revenue went to the players, how much funding gets cut for the other sports? I don’t know. I will also say that it would probably eliminate a lot of extra football staff. No more special assistants to the head coach, no more armies of “analysts” and recruiting staff. It could go back to just the regular coaches, with 2-3 grad assistants, and that’s it. I think that would narrow recruiting focus, leading schools to stop “offering” 300+ players every single year, which is ridiculous.

On the other hand, the main thing that stands out to me is that it is a revenue-sharing bill, and not a profit-sharing bill. There’s a big difference. For the sake of argument, let’s say that the state of Virginia passes the same law (I don’t think they will, FWIW), and let’s take the case of VT women’s basketball. In fiscal year 2019-20, here were the numbers for that program…

Revenue: $1.1 million
Expenses: $4.577 million
Difference: ($3.477) million

So a sport that already operates at a loss of nearly $3.5 million is supposed to start sharing their limited revenue with the players? 

If that does somehow get passed in California, what will the trickledown effect be? Will Alabama players go on strike until they are promised a revenue-sharing deal? Same for  Ohio State, Texas, Florida, LSU, etc. I wouldn’t