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Program Twilight: The Final Analysis and Lots of Questions Left on the Table

So the highly popular, click bait, get some numbers series we called Program Twilight comes to a glorious end. /sarc off... Look, we addressed some thorny issues and some of those might never be solved. In the end, College football is going to change, like it or not, and professionalization is already here. We’ll just have to keep an eye on it and hope for the best. GO HOKIES!!!

Do we have something to look forward to in 2020?
John Schneider - SB Nation

Well… that didn’t solve much. Frankly, I wasn’t anticipating that we’d solve much of anything. The discussion might have been better in the apartment living-room over some generous adult beverage lubrication. We had those often, in the day, comfy beanbag chair, wire spool coffee table, and three TV channels – 4 if you could get Lynchburg. But that was then in times when college football revenues were tiny and limited to a few schools. Okay, there’s more money in the TV rights and such, but pretty much the same big schools of the 1970s are the big money programs of the 21st century, too. It’s sort of difficult to digest the reality that Frank Beamer’s heyday was over a decade ago, and within a blink of an eye will be an entire generation in there somewhere.

So where did we get in this series? I’m not sure, because I don’t think we got much of anywhere. Nearly every poll came back with low samples, and the responses were mostly that we want to keep everything just the way that it is, but we want to win championships. Which we’ve already said really can’t be done given the current money and talent available in the program. We might just get good enough that few rare finds, a few hidden gem players and/or coaches, who could sustain a run at the top ten. That would attract some more high talent recruits and ignite the self-reinforcing feedback loop. Modern communications, and massive changes in how individuals react to the ‘old way of doing things’ have made the job of recruiting really difficult at the 4- and 5-star level… for programs in the Twilight, that is.

The current situation may be sustainable for the near future, but things are going to change very rapidly once the new rules about compensation for players’ identity. There is no current set of rules, guidelines, procedures, and regulations for corporations paying players for their image and likeness on ephemera. I do have an observation and a question, okay set of questions and issues, for the folks in the last poll that chose the following:

  1. Players are going to choose teams that have the better jersey sale and sneaker attractiveness to potential endorsement sponsors.
  2. How do you stop the steering effect of sponsors looking for better exposure from higher ranked more televised teams?
  3. Does that all make the FBI and NCAA investigations of sneaker marketing companies moot?
  4. How does the endorsement contract situation work out in regard to player representation?
  5. How do programs deal with the excess cash swimming around the program in player hands?

Question: Should the top 75ish teams in the FBS be turned into a Semi-Pro Football Program?

22% No way. Not even commenting. I like things just the way that they are.

(12 votes)

51% No, it just violates everything about the Spirit Amateurism standard that the NCAA stands for.

(28 votes)

These two questions were like the poll questions of disagree and strongly disagree with the ‘No Way’ question being the strong disagreement answer.

Frankly, I was really surprised by the results because that meant that of the voters most don’t agree with what is already well underway; professionalization. The ephemera compensation will go through college football like a midnight freight train, and the caboose will eventually be monetary compensation for the players. The lawyers are already warming up their brief wagons.

So, in all honesty the only way that several of my football fan buddies and I can figure out is to do the deed honestly, openly, and with the most amount of good benefit to the players and programs. My little group of four dedicated and gray-haired football fans see that as the only way to save FCS for true collegiate sports. But that’s just an opinion. User Perars actually took us up on the opportunity to comment. He said

“Possible Solution…

One possible solution is to change the rules that regulate whether or not you have a fee in terms of being a professional or not, there has been a lack of willingness on the part of sports authorities, associations, federations to seek a solution to this problem.”

Well Perars, you might have hit the central golden nail with the only tool left in the chest. (the huge screwdriver with the monster handle) Fixing the increasingly permanent Program Twilight Issue is going to take some serious rule changes, new thought patterns, and willingness to address the money issue. No matter how permanent the near darkness is, there are still too many parochial interests involved.

We’ll touch back on this sort of thing in the future. The ‘equation’ will be mentioned during our recruiting analyses and we’ll be noting the potential impact on the Virginia Tech Hokies as an additional factor when we talk about new people signing up for the program.

Stay tuned for the next podcast. It should be out no later than Saturday. Bryan and I will talk about the good news on the recruiting front for the week, and some inklings that we might actually have a season for 2020.