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The greatest college football program that voluntarily quit


Stashed in: Football, Moneyball, Character, Chicago!

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"The University of Chicago was once famous sea to shining sea for football. It boasted a legendary coach, a Heisman Trophy winner and a national championship. Then, in 1939, it did something extraordinary. It gave up the game to save its soul."

Why does it seem so impossible that this could happen again? Can you see Penn State voluntarily giving up football for even a year or two?

University of Chicago were the first Monsters of the Midway.

I wish Penn State would voluntarily give up football for a year or two.

Give us all time to think about what has happened, and offer some distance.

If Caltech can put itself on probation, so can Penn State.

I love this topic. I'm very familiar with it as a sports fan and Tulane grad. Tulane's current President has done everything he can to downplay the role/scope of college athletics in taking a moral stand. And I'm furious.

The irony is that such elitest, ivory-tower attitudes are incredibly harmful to Universities and even though U Chicago is still a renowned institution, there's no getting around the issue that if they were still in the Big 10, their athletic department would be bringing in somewhere between $50M-$100M per year and realizing brand equity worth hundreds of millions.

The median D1A university is now bringing in $40M/year in direct revenue and more than a handful of athletic programs are doing >$100M/year. Meanwhile, media rights to live sports continue to skyrocket because of the value of live content in a real-time, DVR enabled media landscape. At the current rate, the median of $40M will be at $60M shortly. And a marketing firm recently valued Robert Griffin III's Heisman run as being worth $250M-$300M in brand equity to Baylor University.

In addition to being great for alumni relations, this stuff is big big business.

Meanwhile, we have headlines today from Coursera. The education bubble is worse than the housing bubble as the cost of "education" went up moreso than housing prices while the practical cost drops to free. When that sucker bursts the fallout will be intense.

The only way private universities will be able to survive is by offering much more than "classes", like big time athletics or some other experience that you can't get online or for free.

Differentiated, high-quality, private universities with large endowments, like U Chicago or Stanford or Princeton, should be able to adapt and survive. I fear far worse for my alma mater, which could surely use the $50M year and massive visibility they gave up by "putting athletics in their proper place vis a vie education".

Frontline did an excellent piece on the NCAA:

"If everyone else is profiting from the multibillion dollar college sports business, why shouldn't the athletes?"

One of the best interviews (and most scathing critics of the NCAA) is Michael Lewis, writer of "Moneyball" and "The Blind Side."