Episode 94: College Football: Money Culture Politics with John Tamny and Brian McNicoll


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It’s Saturday in September and there’s no Big Ten football being played today. 

But in a not-so-surprising reversal, just weeks after Kevin Warren, the Big Ten commissioner, pointedly said the decision not to play this year would “not be revisited”, they revisited. 

They just announced that it will start up its fall football season October 24. Why the change?

Of course it faced pressure from coaches, players, parents and fans but the decision looks like it has everything to do with politics and money, and very little to do with “science.”

Last week, before the Big Ten’s change of heart, I talked about the cultural phenomenon, politics and money of college football with my friends and frequent collaborators, John Tammy, author of When Politicians Panic and Brian McNicoll, a veteran newspaper and sports reporter.

Both are “certified college football fanatics” and do a great job explaining to me what’s happening with the college football season this fall. 

It seems to be a crazy mishmash. Some teams are playing, some canceling their seasons. Some with fans, others not. In the Big Ten states, they’re playing high school and professional football, but not college. 

We speculated that the Big Ten’s decision, wouldn’t hold, coming as it does in the Presidential battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.

And of course there’s the money. College football is a $4 billion business, supports a lot of other minor sports and is a keystone for college fundraising. 

Listen in here to our fun and wide-ranging conversation:

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