Sports Leaders Looking to Implement College Football "Super League"

Some of the most influential minds in sports are looking to implement a new model to fix college football.
Michigan tight end Colston Loveland makes a catch against Washington during the second half of U-M's
Michigan tight end Colston Loveland makes a catch against Washington during the second half of U-M's / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

We're in the midst of uncertain times for college athletics.

Players are now being compensated through NIL, both with endorsement deals and school collectives, effectively creating a "pay for play" model that has no current regulations. Players are also now capable of moving freely from one program to the next with immediate eligibility, a factor that when combined with potential NIL earnings, has created free agency that is, again, unregulated.

And the NCAA has effectively been told it's illegal for them to attempt to regulate these things within their current business model.

All the while, mega television contracts and conference realignment has blown up the fabric of college sports as we know them, especially in football. All but a few of the sport's best programs now reside within the SEC and Big Ten, Florida State and Clemson are suing to get out of the ACC, the Big 12, while expanded, is a shell of its former self, and the Pac-12 is soon to be officially dead.

Oh, and a playoff model that's constantly being tweaked seems to be moving further and further towards only being a showcase for programs fortunate enough to be members of the SEC and Big Ten.

College football will already be drastically different than what we've previously known this fall, but it's rapidly trending towards being completely unrecognizable in the worst possible ways in the near future.

One group is looking to save college football from itself.

Andrew Marchand and Stewart Mandel of The Athletic reported Wednesday evening that a 20-person group made up of a collection of college presidents and pro sports executives named "College Sports Tomorrow" have devised a new model for college football that many are calling the "Super League".

In the proposed model, the current conference structure of college football would be eliminated. Instead, all members of the old "Power 5" leagues plus Notre Dame and new ACC-member SMU would make up a 70-team upper-tier that would be split into seven 10-team divisions. Those 70 programs would be locked into their divisions with each division winner earning a playoff spot.

All remaining current FBS programs would make up a lower-tier. But to keep the entire FBS intertwined, an eighth division would exist consisting of the very best lower-tier programs. All lower-tier programs would have the ability to play their way in or out of that division through a promotion and relegation system.

The winner of the eight division would also earn a playoff spot, as would eight wildcard teams made up of upper-tier programs whose selection would be determined by record and tiebreakers as opposed to being voted on by a committee.

Furthermore, the proposed Super League would create a structure for players to be paid directly and earn salaries. It would feature collective bargaining to reach agreements with players on those salaries as well as regulations for transferring.

Essentially, the Super League aims to create a pro-sports model for college football while still keeping the entirety of the FBS involved and embracing traditional regional rivalries through divisions. It would be a way to move the sport into its inevitable future but pay homage to the things that set CFB apart.

Would that be the best path forward for college football? There are some clear positives to the model, but according to Mandel's and Marchand's reporting, conferences aren't exactly eager to hear College Sports Tomorrow out on the idea. Using the model would mean the end of conferences individually negotiating TV deals, and with each of these leagues locked into contracts for the near future, they aren't looking to upset the networks currently throwing billions at them.

Regardless, further change in college football and college athletics as a whole is inevitable. A proper solution for navigating those changes without totally destroying the sport we know and love is badly needed. And maybe this is it.