Like clockwork, voices are raised that college football players at the highest level deserve more compensation beyond the traditional scholarship. This year, the NCAA decreed that players be given a stipend of $1,500 to $6,000 a player, determined by the cost to attend their particular school.
Football programs are fund-raising tools for high-profile programs, which are always hitting up alumni. (Ever notice no matter how many times you change addresses, the alumni office is a step ahead?)
Some schools choose to subsidize football with money from regular students or their friendly state legislature. Some are cannon fodder, riding the coattails of big-time schools in a conference.
Now it’s bowl season. With the addition of the Cure Bowl in Orlando and the Arizona Bowl in Tucson, there are 40 games. That doesn’t include the national championship game in Phoenix Jan. 11.
There’s a bowl game in the Bahamas. And at Yankee Stadium, where a football field barely fits and the sightlines are awful. Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is hosting the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl. (Presumably the players and coaches won’t stay in a Motel 6, where leaving the light on for you also seems to also attract vermin.)
This year’s major bowls are the Orange and Cotton, which host national semifinal games. Last year the Rose and Sugar bowls had the semifinals. Next year, the Peach and Fiesta get their turn.
Then the rotation begins anew, maybe. I venture that after next season, if not before, the NCAA will decide that an eight-team playoff is in order. That will work out neatly for the six bowls that run everything. They’ll each get either a quarterfinal or semifinal game.
Perhaps some of the 34 bowls that don’t matter will take the hint.