The College Football Playoff appears ready to expand in the near future. The four-team event could soon become a 12-team tournament, and that has led to mixed reactions among college football fans.
Some love the idea. Others hate it.
Among the latter category are two Connecticut senators who are worried about whether the NCAA has the best interests of the athletes in mind or if the governing body is just looking for “another cash grab.”
“The only guaranteed outcome of an expanded playoff field and longer season is more league profit that the players won’t see a dime of – it’s just another cash grab,” said Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. in a statement to USA Today Sports. “I doubt if the fact that this will increase the risk of player injury even came up.”
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Blumenthal was backed up by his counterpart, Chris Murphy, D-Conn, who spoke about the athletes not having a say in this decision.
“This is another example of the big-time college sports executives and administrators making decisions just to increase their own revenue, while continuing to put the needs and health of college athletes on the back burner,” Murphy said. “It’s crazy that the athletes who create the product have zero say in a decision as big as this, and will get none of the millions in profit that will be created by additional games.
“This is exactly why I introduced legislation that would help these athletes organize and collectively bargain for themselves.”
Currently, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is trying to craft a law that would give college athletes a chance to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL). This includes athletes being able to sign endorsement deals, sign autographs for pay and earn money on various social media platforms, like YouTube.
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Thus, it’s no surprise that Blumenthal, who chairs the committee, and Murphy would be opposed to this type of playoff expansion. They want to make sure athletes aren’t being exploited, especially given the inconsistent safety guidelines and lacking health coverage that student-athletes receive.
Still, these senators’ opinions aren’t likely to have an impact on potential expansion for the College Football Playoff. What they can do is continue to debate issues involving the NCAA as they look to create an NIL law for athletes and, potentially, pursue some other legislation designed to benefit student-athletes.