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Another Bowl Game? Bring It On

Tuesday April 15, 2014

College football is on the verge of reaching a true milestone.

But surely, this is a milestone that some critics of the sport will lament.

With the announcement this week that the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference would create a new Orlando-based bowl game starting with the 2015 season, it became clear that, starting that year, college football will host 40 bowl games each season.

Yes, that's right: 40.

In all, this means that 78 teams will qualify for bowl games each season, including the two teams that end up playing for the national title in the new College Football Playoff championship game. And yes, this is a good thing.

For years now, assorted killjoys have claimed that college football waters down its product by sending too many average teams to bowl games. Their argument has always been that teams that finish 6-6 and 7-5 don't "deserve" to play postseason football.

My counter-argument (and it's the correct argument, it must be noted) is that I honestly don't care whether a team "deserves" to play in a bowl game. Because at the end of the day, more college football, the better. Simple as that.

So, yeah, bring on this new bowl game (it will be called the Cure Bowl, by the way, and will support charities fighting against cancer).

And bring on even more, too.

Photo: Getty Images

Ohio Lawmakers: Student-Athletes Are Not 'Employees'

Wednesday April 9, 2014

In the wake of the Northwestern football labor ruling that shook up the college football world, some Ohio legislators are taking proactive action to ensure that, in their state, at least, college football players remain "students" only, and not "employees."

Ohio's House Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday amended a budget bill to include a clause stating that college athletes in the state could not and would not be termed "employees" of their universities. The amended bill was to be voted on by the full House this week.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rom Amstutz told the Associated Press that the committee's action was "a statement of what we all thought was obvious."

"Athletes are not employees of their university," Amstutz said.

Of course, the National Labor Relations Board feels otherwise, and ruled last month that Northwestern football players should--because of the fact that they are compensated by their universities (through athletic scholarship), because they are under such strict control of their coaches and because of any number of other factors--be considered employees of the school. That ruling opened the door for the players to unionize.

It is unclear as of yet if the Northwestern players will go ahead and do so, but as the Ohio move shows, there is at least some concern out there that the NLRB ruling could indeed spark a revolution in the world of college sports--and, by extension, change the way universities (and states) fund college athletics.

"I think we're proactively restating that college athletes are not employees," Amstutz said. "If it ever comes up, it will be in the law."

Photo: Getty Images

2014 Pac-12 Preview

Monday March 31, 2014

Looking ahead to the 2014 season out West, it seems pretty clear that it's going to be an Oregon vs. Stanford battle for the Pac-12 title.


But while the Ducks and Cardinal will stage yet another two-horse race for the league crown this season, I am pretty sure that these programs' days of dual dominance are nearing an end. And quick.

In our 2014 Pac-12 preview package, you can read up on the Ducks, and on the Cardinals, and on the handful of programs that appear to be on the cusp of breaking through as true league contenders.

2014 Pac-12 Preview, Part I

2014 Pac-12 Preview, Part II

2014 Oregon Ducks Preview

2014 Stanford Cardinal Preview

Photo: Getty Images

In Depth: The Northwestern Labor Ruling

Monday March 31, 2014

The status quo in college football is under attack.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board issued a stunning ruling, finding that players at Northwestern University were by law "employees" of the university.

That decision means that the players must be given the right to unionize. If they can fend off pending legal challenges and successfully form that union, then college football--and perhaps college athletics as  a whole--will be changed forever.

Here, we offer a comprehensive breakdown of this hugely important ruling--from the key arguments in the NLRB ruling to the reaction of the NCAA to opinions from sportswriters and legal experts nationwide.

Northwestern Players Win Right to Unionize

Key Highlights: The Northwestern Labor Ruling

NCAA, Northwestern React to the Ruling

Opinions Split on NLRB Ruling

Photo: Getty Images

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