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Survey Reveals Transformative Changes Ahead for College Football

  • The NCAA is headed for massive change according to a survey of players, coaches, and staff.
  • Direct player compensation is seen as inevitable by many.
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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The college sports landscape has been completely upended in the last two years — and those in the industry predict much more upheaval to come.

Player compensation is expected to reshape the conference landscape.

  • 54% of more than 200 coaches, players, and administrators surveyed by ESPN said that college athletes would be compensated directly within the next five years, with 82% saying it would happen within 10 years. 
  • 98% said that further conference realignment is on the way.
  • Close to 60% said that college football should break from the NCAA and form its own system of oversight.

“[The NCAA] decided 20 years ago to fight at all costs compensation for athletes under any circumstances,” said attorney Michael Caspino of Forward Counsel last week. “They lost. Now we’re in havoc.”

College football, according to 58% of respondents, is headed toward a world in which conferences are split into ones that pay their players and ones that don’t.

Wealth Transfer

While NCAA rules prohibit paying players and using NIL as a recruiting inducement, nearly 80% of respondents said that NIL payments are being used for exactly that. Most also said that the transfer portal has essentially become a free-agency system.

Respondents were split on whether the current transfer system presents serious issues, but around 70% said that players should be able to transfer once without penalty within a specified time period.

Editor’s note: For more on this story, click here.

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