Big 10 FCS Decision, SEC Money Could Have Devastating Domino Effect

By Kris Hughes


John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

When we hear of decisions certain conferences make or the exorbitant amounts of money that are now floating around, each appears to be occurring in a bubble — isolated incidents or decisions that have no collateral effect.

Two recent decisions in particular — the Big 10 Conference’s decision to no longer play FCS programs, and Cam Cameron‘s hire as the offensive coordinator at LSU — are going to have collateral damage that affects the game not just on the Division I football, but throughout the NCAA divisions.

While it’s obviously a decision based on increasing the overall strength of schedule of each of it’s member institutions and of the conference as a whole, the Big 10’s decision to no longer play FCS schools could have a ripple effect throughout the other major FBS conferences — and in return directly damaging the long-term sustainability of FCS programs.

If every major conference was to decide that playing FCS schools was now passe and out of style, then a windfall of “guarantee game” money will go unclaimed by these smaller programs — money that many of them need just to stay viable and operate from one day to the next.

A well-documented example of playing larger schools as a sacrificial lamb just to maintain solvency came with the Savannah State debacle last season as the tiny FCS school got their skulls kicked in on consecutive Saturdays by the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida State Seminoles — in the process, making enough money to ensure their athletic department lived to see another day.

Let’s hope, for schools like Savannah State, that the trend of bucking FCS programs from the schedule doesn’t become a domino effect that makes them de facto off-limits for major programs. If so, you can waive plenty of FBS and Division II programs bye-bye.

The LSU Tigers finally solidified their contract agreement with long-time NFL offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier today. Cameron’s deal reportedly is worth $3.4 million over four years to take over the play calling for Les Miles‘ squad.

That $1.13 million per year is greater than the total salary packages of 48 head coaches in Division I football. Stop and think about that for a minute.

If LSU was willing to pay Cameron $1.13 million per year, where will it end?

If there is an annual arms race for coordinators now — as there always has been for head coaching talent — we’re talking about a very slippery slope on which schools with smaller revenue bases will have absolutely no chance competing.

If coordinators start to reach the point where they are being paid more than 1/2 of the head coaches in the country — and by the numbers, that’s not too far fetched — the smaller programs will no longer be able to compete in any real sense for the top coaching talent in the country and the rich will only continue to get richer.

Call me a pessimist — but I can’t see how either of these developments are good for the game — capitalistic principles be damned.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports. You can follow Kris on TwitterGoogle and Facebook

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