When will big-time college get to relegation?

Why do Michigan, Ohio State and now Oregon want to share revenue with Rutgers?

With the complete breakdown of regional conferences in the Div. I college ranks, and the continued march of media money moving evermore toward player contracts, there's an easy jump to be made in deduction for what large, big-time athletic departments will soon be contemplating: why are we supporting all these other wimpy schools?

The Big 10, where the University of Oregon is headed next year, is anchored by Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State among its top tier. Soon USC, UCLA and Washington will join them as part of the 7-year, $7 billion media rights deal the conference signed in 2022 when it had 16 members (including USC and UCLA, which had already agreed to join starting in 2024).

At $1 billion a year raked in from all the major media companies except ABC and ESPN, the 18 Big 10 schools get roughly $55 million. UO and UW are getting less due to their late entry into the contract, but they're estimating it's still more than they'd get from a new Pac 10 contract so that's the key to making the jump.

At $55 million, Rutgers, the public university in New Jersey that's famous for ... having seven letters in its name, is getting a lot more than it would in any other environment based on that name and fanbase. Rutgers is cashing in on Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State as a member of the Big 10.

The Big 3 there seem happy to have Rutgers along as a literal whipping boy to boost its program records through easy wins, but for how long? When is the Super Conference going to arrive with a relegation/promotion-style that includes Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, UW, UO, USC and the like to 20 schools - the number of clubs in the English Premier League?

In England, the league membership is based on performance with the top clubs getting more of a share of the overall media revenue. That helps translate into the top clubs being better every year, so they're happy with that set-up.

Wouldn't UM, OSU and Penn State be happier with an unequal share of the revenue based on their performance as they perform so highly every year?

The EPL-inspired Super Conference. It's not going to happen due to college fans wanting the experience over the revenue. But, the Pac 12 wasn't going to fold, either. And, it happened.

The European Super Conference for soccer has a hold on a number of top clubs in Spain and Italy, and for a short time England, too. It's out there. As the NIL agenda for athletes moves toward those athletes becoming paid employees, that Super Conference is going to get some attention, and then more as the months and years move forward.

Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is a lifelong resident of Oregon and has four decades of experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, broadcaster and now producer. He's a grad of Benson and the University of Oregon, and publishes Oregonsports.com as well as OSPN, which is scheduled for delivery as a streaming Mobile App in December.

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