Need for a college football commissioner has never been greater than right now

College Football Playoff selection committee meets during the College Football Playoff Selection Sunday event at the Gaylord Texan resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
College Football Playoff selection committee meets during the College Football Playoff Selection Sunday event at the Gaylord Texan resort. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

College football and the NCAA are undergoing historic change, and the need to have a true leader bringing the sport into a new era has never been greater than it is at this moment in history.

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously dealt a crippling blow to the NCAA’s stranglehold on the indentured servitude known as “college sports amateurism”, and with that blow will come some sweeping changes in how student-athletes are compensated.

The U.S. Congress is pushing through legislation and, in turn, is pressuring states to pass their own Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) laws that will allow student-athletes to profit from their own talent and fame.

The College Football Playoff working group and board of managers have recommended playoff expansion to a 12-team field, an idea — while misguided in its conception — which will likely be put into action very soon.

In short, it’s been an offseason of huge headlines for college sports, and the most profitable college sport of all — football — is now at a crossroads the likes of which has never been seen by those involved in the sport or its fans.

A college football commissioner is needed because it’s not an amateur sport, it’s a business.

College football, despite the claims of Mark Emmert and his plantation mentality, is a business. It’s a business that makes money. A lot of money. And if you look at any successful money-making corporation on this planet, you’ll see two commonalities.

A product or service people crave.

Strong leadership at the top.

College football has nailed the first point, nurturing one of the most marketable products in the world. It’s the second point where those in charge of the sport (and I’m talking about people like Greg Sankey, Nick Saban, and Rev. John Jenkin – not the NCAA) keep missing the mark.

With the changes coming following this offseason’s stories, the NCAA’s oversight of college football has been reduced to a logo and some feeble attempts at eligibility maintenance. The power Emmert and company once had over student-athletes has been slowly chipped away, and now is the time to finally cut those apron strings.

Why a commissioner? It only makes sense. Each college conference has a commissioner. Every professional sport has a commissioner. It’s the “buck stops here” person for any large organization.

College football needs to detach itself from the NCAA, and college football needs a commissioner. A leader. A powerful and rational voice who works with a board of directors — the conference commissioners, the CFB Playoff governance groups, and a select group of players — to finally bring consistency and sanity to the chaos that has enveloped this sport in recent years.

With an actual commissioner and board of directors in charge, there are ongoing problems that could finally be addressed, such as;

  • Player compensation
  • Transfer guidelines for players
  • Resetting the Bowl Game system
  • Conference imbalance
  • Giving Group of Five programs a shot at the CFB Playoff
  • Consistent consequences for off-field rules infractions
  • Recruiting guidelines for both players and coaches
  • Rules and competition adjustments
  • Filtering more money to FCS schools to eliminate the need for “cream puff” games vs the FBS

The list could go on and on. The NCAA has all but ignored most of these issues while spending vast amounts of time trying to hunt down players who might have made an extra needed buck or two. We now have an opportunity to end that cycle and begin actually taking care of the student-athletes who generate millions of dollars for our entertainment.

The NCAA’s meddling with big-time college sports should be done. The future of college football would be best left in the hands of a commissioner and board who have the best interest of the players and the sport itself as their primary focus.

Next problem is, who’s it going to be?

That’s a problem worth having. Let’s create the framework first.

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