4-Down Territory: Pigskin Stew is Now on the Air, Congress & NIL, Time for New Football Technology
First Down: Pigskin Stew Takes to The Air: Partnering with Pittsburgh’s ESPN Radio we are creating Western PA’s only college football radio show "Pigskin Stew." The show airs on 104.7 FM, 970 AM every Thursday at 6 p.m. Tom Bradley joins me for the show that covers college football around the country, with a special emphasis on local teams Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia as well as Notre Dame, Ohio State and others. During our weekly “Blitz Package” segment we talk to the Post-Gazette’s Christopher Carter (Pitt), Mike Poorman from StateCollege.com (PSU) and Dale Wolfley from the Wolfman and Tommy Show (WVU) to get their insights. And each week we’ll interview national college football guests to bring broader context to all that is happening with your favorite sport. Check out the details here. If you don’t live in the Pittsburgh market you can listen live at: https://espnpgh.iheart.com/
Second Down: Time for New Football Technology: The NFL has had helmet speakers and microphones for years so that quarterbacks and linebackers can communicate with coaches. Coaches call offensive plays and defensive calls between plays to players on the field. It would eliminate the need for signaling or sending in plays. It would also allow college football to go "paperless" eliminating all the signs/props and arts and crafts projects we see cluttering the sidelines of college games. The main argument against the speakers had to do with the cost of the headsets. The cost of that technology has plunged, while the money being paid for TV rights has exploded into the billions of dollars. The teams can afford it. Also, the sidelines would become less crowded (improving player safety). And in an era of sustainability, it would mean less paper waste each week.
Third Down: What Congress Can Do for College Sports: Don’t laugh, because Congress has actually been getting a lot of things done lately. So, what can they do for college sports in the era of Name, Image and Likeness? Congress has far more pressing issues to deal with before repeatedly getting into the weeds every time something changes in college sports. But.....in the interest of efficiency, there is one simple issue they can get done. They can define the relationship between college student-athletes and universities. Are they simply students? Are they employees? If revenue sharing or compensation does occur what is their status? How would that money be taxed? Can college student-athletes organize and demand collective bargaining? One comprehensive bill to define that relationship would set the NCAA and conferences on a legally sustainable foundation to shape the future course of intercollegiate sports.
Fourth Down: Should College Football Nationalize?: In a world where the Big 10 has 16 teams (for now) and is geographically spread from the shadows of the Manhattan Skyline to the Hollywood sign something just seems off. The pursuit of the almighty television dollar and more TV markets is fracturing the traditions that have been the bedrock of the sport. Because each conference controls their own TV deals it is a blood sport for trying to outgun other conferences. If the conferences agreed to work as one on TV contracts ala the NFL (and the old College Football Association) the revenue distribution would be far more even. That would allow teams to stay in the geographic footprint and maintain traditional rivalries within their geographic footprint. It won't happen, but it would make a far more stable college football world.
History Minute: TV’s Sway Is Not New: In the summer of 1968 ABC announced that the Penn State-Syracuse game would be moved from October 19th to December 7th to be televised nationally. Long-time PR man Beano Cook concocted a prank story that Joe Paterno’s wife Sue asked for the game to be moved because October 19th was the due date for her 4th child. The story even had phony quotes attributed to her. But many people missed the joke. Nasty phone calls and letters came to Sue (one stating that if anyone was killed driving in the snow or ice to that December game—their blood would be on Sue’s hands). Beano Cook and ABC Sports issued a clarification, the story was corrected, and that child (seen here) was born two days late. Penn State won that December game 30-12.