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Bowl invite proves college sports no longer fun and games
Bowl game invites more proof that college sports are big business

 Virginia Tech (Randall Dunn and Joey Phillips pictured in touchdown mode) is bowl bound. But should it be?
STEVE HELBER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 12/8/2012

VIRGINIA TECH'S football team is bowl bound!

Even three decades ago, it would have been unthinkable to invite a team with a 6-6 record to play in the post-season, but Tech gets to go.

Why? Because those who do the inviting know that the Hokies always have a large following and fans bring money to a bowl game and the city in which it is played.

There are other major-college teams with better records, but they would put fewer students and alumni in the stands. So Tech gets the bid.

That's what major college football and basketball is all about these days--money. Big money. How big? Well, the University of Maryland may have to pay the Atlantic Coast Conference as much as $50 million to leave that league and move to the Big 10.

A tremendous amount of money for a college team to pay? Apparently not. Although the Terps are challenging the ACC's departure bill, those in the know say that even if Maryland has to pay the full amount they will get that money back--and more--very quickly in the Big 10.

We have reached a point where football teams with mediocre records get bowl bids and schools jump from one conference to the other without batting an eye. Quality and tradition mean little today. Money is the key.

To say that major college football and basketball programs should still be awarded amateur status is quickly bordering on the ridiculous. The amount of money these programs generate is incredible.

Yes, some of that money--brought in from television revenue, ticket sales and the peddling of school-themed clothing and other merchandise--goes to fund other low-profile school sports.

But with many major-college football and basketball coaches basking in the sunshine of multimillion-dollar contracts and stadiums with multimillion-dollar scoreboards getting more and more lavish, we can be sure that all that revenue isn't being used to buy soccer balls and softball bats.

Let's face it: Major college football and basketball has been transformed from "Rah, rah, rah-go team!" Saturday afternoon get-togethers to huge businesses.

Then, too, major-college football and basketball teams have pretty much become the minor leagues for the NFL and the NBA. Unlike baseball, which has its own farm system, pro football and basketball teams allow colleges to develop their talent.


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