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Fitz: It’s time to divide college football into new divisions


UCLA’s quarterback Josh Rosen came up with some very honest comments regarding the hypocrisy of college football recently.

“Look, football and school don’t go together,” Rosen told Bleacher Report. “They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way.”

College football is a billion dollar business masquerading under the bogus guise of non-profit educational institutions. Rosen also commented about players being “amateurs” while UCLA signed a $280 million dollar apparel deal with Under Armour.

Nothing wrong with big time football being played at the college level. In fact, out of the 125 Division I (I’m never calling it FBS or FCS, sorry), there are about 60 that play semi-pro NFL minor league feeder system football. And about 60 that actually still have “student-athletes” that are legitimately trying to earn a college degree and play big time college football.

Let’s be blunt, the academic and behavioral standards for athletes at Stanford, Boston College, Northwestern, Notre Dame and the Service Academies are very different than the focus at Alabama, Florida State, USC and Clemson. Not making a value judgement, just stating a fact.

Two of these schools had a player arrested for gun possession before the regular season last year. At one school, the player started every game and faced no discipline. At the other the player was dismissed from the football team and expelled from the school. (Hint: these schools played in the 2012 National Championship game).

Many top 25 football schools have graduation rates hovering at or below 50 percent. The minority graduation rate is even lower. The “college football” schools actually graduate their players into the high 90 percent range.

So why continue this charade? Quite simply let’s have semi-pro football where a player focused on a potential NFL career studies football. Works out, receives unlimited coaching, weight training, the best nutrition and gives his best effort to become a professional football player. And receives four years of free education at that institution to be used at any point later in his life. If he doesn’t become an NFL player due to lack of talent or injury or has a brief career he can then return to school and received an education. Pretty fair bargain considering the hundreds of millions these players earn tax free for their universities.

The other 60-team league would remain as “College Football”. With academic and behavioral standards befitting real college students. Yes, some would still become NFL players but they might prove to be more of the exception as their college choice would be much more focused on using their athletic ability to fund their education. Playing a varsity sport would be a privilege. Majoring in “eligibility” with no progress towards graduation would become non-existent and not tolerated.

It would not be surprising that both of these Divisions would become popular and entertaining. Rice can play Vanderbilt. Northwestern, Boston College, Stanford and Notre Dame would have to make a choice as to which league to join but for the most part it would be fairly obvious which schools would fit in which areas most easily. High school seniors could select an appropriate school given their life goals at the time.

In some states, college football programs substitute for NFL franchises. There is no pro football in Alabama, or South Carolina or Mississippi. Ohio State has 50,000 students. But their football team has far different standards than the regular student body.

Its 2017 and much has changed over the 100 years plus of college football history. It’s well past time to acknowledge reality and divide this sport according to the goals of the participants and institutions that continue to perpetuate this absurd system.