On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams speak with Rick Burton, sports management professor at Syracuse University, about the upcoming college football season, which kicks off in earnest this week.
The season comes with COVID-19 lingering in the background, new NIL rights for athletes, potential playoff expansion, and a looming NCAA restructuring that will likely give more power to rich conferences like the SEC and Big 10. Texas and Oklahoma’s move from the Big 12 to the SEC has also created a nonstop stream of realignment and alliance rumors.
Burton discusses what’s actually changing, and what isn’t. That includes the future of the NCAA as an entity, and whether new marketing rights for athletes threaten to stifle the wider push for more rights for athletes. (Burton discusses NIL in depth in a Sportico op-ed).
The former chief marketing officer for Team USA, Burton also discusses the uncertainty about the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Games start in five months, but there’s been little communication as to whether fans will be allowed to attend, or what sponsors will be able to do on the ground. The geopolitical and humanitarian aspect—governments across the globe have called China’s treatment of its Uighur minority a “genocide”—complicates things even further.