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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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What Do Players Want?

  • Big 12 school officials claimed the breakup of the conference could negatively impact athletes.
  • But the athletes themselves have no avenue to say how they really feel.
Photo: TCU Athletics/Design: Alex Brooks

Big 12 school officials claimed the breakup could negatively impact athletes in addition to their own bank accounts. 

They used this argument in asking Texas state senators to step in to protect their valuable Power 5 status — whether it’s true or not.

Hopes and Fears

In addition to losing Power 5 resources, officials implied their football players would lose the spotlight provided by playing schools like Texas.

Boschini also claimed “non-revenue” sports like tennis or equestrian would be in jeopardy without Power 5 funds — though that’s a common threat whenever schools are concerned they’ll lose money. 

For this reason, Boschini said losing Power 5 status would hurt “women, minorities, and first-generation students.” However, most of the “non-revenue” sports athletes are white, according to one study. And Title IX theoretically protects women’s sports no matter how much money programs lose.

Players’ Voice

Despite what officials say is best for athletes, there’s still no clarity about how the players feel.

Former Minnesota professor Jason Stahl launched the College Football Players Association last week, just in time for FBS conferences to shift. While anonymous players have already joined the organization, Stahl emphasized to FOS that he doesn’t yet have enough research to say how players really feel about a potential Big 12 breakup or SEC “super-conference.”

Still, Stahl imagines current Big 12 players asking, “What does that mean? What does that mean for my future prospects? What does that mean for how people are going to think about the other member schools?” he said. “There’s all these open questions.”

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