College football plans schedule expansion
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In a news dump presser from the Big Ten earlier in the college football season, it was announced that the Power Five conference would play six games on Friday nights throughout the 2017 season on a trial basis. Why? There was no direct answer given, but the Big Ten cannot expect sports fans to see past this money grab, can it?
In a world and a sport driven by revenue, the Big Ten is taking a leap in hopes of being the pioneer for Friday night football. There is just one major problem. Another level of football has exclusively occupied the Friday nights for years past: high school football. It is all a competition to make the most money and college football and the NCAA have always stuck their noses in any opening to make money. It sniffs out profits and pounces like a lion hunting its prey. Usually, the nights that are swooped up are not currently occupied. The NCAA, college football as a whole and the Big Ten intends to take on high school football, and everybody knows how this battle ends.
Every night, you can find football on your television. The NFL has Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The college game has Saturdays and including the MAC conference, it has Tuesdays, as well. High school football? Well, it has Friday nights. That is all they get with the exception of a few early morning Saturday games for teams without lights on their field. How is an internet streamed high school event supposed to compete with the ratings of an Ohio State vs. Michigan? Heck, even an Illinois vs. Rutgers game is bound to get better ratings than your average Chicago suburb high school football game.
It makes sense that college football would want to expand and take the next step for profit. That is the goal of the NCAA, right? But why attack the miniscule ratings of your average local high school games? These are the schools that are feeding your college’s it’s best recruits. While the revenue may outweigh any other factor for the Big Ten Network and the NCAA, you have to factor in how the high school game is affected by this move. Maybe the trial fails and the scheduling reverts to normalcy in 2018, but money aside, the cons heavily supersede the pros of this decision.
If certain colleges are taking the spotlight away from high school squads, are the high school coaches going to be less likely to steer their brightest stars towards the Friday night playing teams? The high school level is already overlooked, so the move from the Big Ten to encroach on the traditional Friday Night Lights outs the conference with extreme greed, had it not been already.
The NCAA also hammers home the idea that student-athletes are students first, but Big Ten football teams travel the night before their contests, so how can the NCAA continue this charade if it is ending the school week a day early?
Questions have been asked and a decent portion of those questions are yet to be answered pertaining to the decision, but you have to imagine the organization has concocted its answers long before the decision about the expansion was made. Surely it will have its reasoning, and it will make sense to some of us, but not to all. I do not see how this move affects the Big Ten in any positive manner other than monetarily. Maybe money really is all that matters now.