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Coronavirus or Not, the NCAA Needs a Reimagining: Opinion

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Sports Illustrated senior writer Pat Forde devised a radical reimagining of college sports not only in the era of the coronavirus, but beyond. His plan would expand the College Football Playoff, assign teams in a sensible way geographically, and have inner division play creating new rivalries.

"What college football would gain from this realignment: uniformity; conference championships that truly matter; increased access to a more lucrative playoff; a more level playing field for the little guys; renewed regional identity; cherished rivalries preserved, restored—and, in some cases, forced into permanent existence. The advantages are abundant," Forde wrote.

But there’s some serious money behind the current NCAA structure.

According to the NCAA, it "receives most of its annual revenue from two sources. That money is distributed in more than a dozen ways—almost all of which directly support NCAA schools, conferences and nearly half a million student-athletes." Those sources are the Division I Men's Basketball Championship television and marketing rights—which brings in $867.5 million—and championships ticket sales, which bring in $177.9 million.

That money is distributed to sport sponsorships and scholarship funds, a Division I Basketball Performance Fund, Division I Championships, a Student Assistance Fund, and more.

Only five of the NCAA's 90 championships are profitable. Those are men’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, wrestling and baseball.

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