Not the most important day in college football anymore.
Once upon a time, January 1st was the last day of the college football season although there were some all-star games played in January. There would be a champion crowned after the completion of the traditional bowl games. But money has changed everything and January 1st is just another day. In 2020, there are four games, including the Rose and the Sugar Bowl. This year’s college football championship game is on January 13 in New Orleans. There are more than three dozen college bowl games with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Lending Tree, TaxSlayer, PlayStation and other title sponsors paying college football bills. Television and other partners both naming rights and lesser sponsors put up money. But no payments go to student-athletes who are the show.
The term “student-athlete” has been used to deny players benefits such as salaries and long-term health care from injuries suffered on the field whether in practice or in a game. Courts have pretty much routinely upheld the college side of things in lawsuits filed by severely injured players or survivors of players killed on the field. Schools should not have to pay workman’s compensation or long-term health care costs because the athlete is a student not an employee of the school. The athletic scholarship is very one sided, in favor of the schools although there is some justification that the schools are offering scholarships to players and that players ought to be grateful for that. Teams playing in the bowl games pay no taxes on bowl payoffs thanks to an antitrust exemption. The players, the stars of the show, are not paid while everyone else is making money. They have stories to tell later on in life about appearing in a big game. The coaches get millions, athletic director bonuses. The players may get a ring from their sweat and time.