SI Vault
Douglas S. Looney
September 22, 1986
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September 22, 1986

College Football

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Just as important, the new boss must be able to deal with the media. Byers has been totally ineffective in this area, which has contributed mightily to the NCAA's sagging image.

Another major Byers shortcoming: failing to take the lead in establishing college football playoffs. Incredibly, Division I-A football is the only one of the NCAA-sanctioned sports without a national championship. Why? Because Byers has been unwilling to stand up to bowl interests who don't want their holiday parties ruined by a legitimate playoff series.


Money talks, and sometimes it screams and yells. The University of Idaho knows. Five years ago the Vandals scheduled a game for Sept. 13, 1986, with the University of Washington, in Seattle, a situation in which Idaho, for $125,000, was willing to humiliate itself to boost the Huskies' won-lost record.

But last year mighty Ohio State found itself needing a big game. Bingo. A deal was cut for the Buckeyes to play in Seattle on Saturday—Idaho's Saturday—(the Huskies won 40-7) and for Washington to go to Columbus in 1993.

Had Washington played Idaho, the Huskies would have netted an estimated $475,000. By switching, Washington got half of an $800,000 gate (tickets for Idaho would have averaged $15 each, for Ohio State, $18, a gain of $150,000) plus $260,000 for its share of CBS's TV money. Therefore, the Huskies pocketed about $200,000 more than they would have made with Idaho. "I'd have to be a dummy not to do this," says Washington AD Mike Lude.

Big-time, bottom-line Yuppieball—for everyone except Idaho. The Vandals ended up traveling to Mt. Pleasant, Mich., last weekend to get drilled by Central Michigan, 34-21. Idaho's guarantee for that game was $35,000 but it cost an estimated $30,000 to make the trip from Moscow. Which means the Washington-Ohio State power play cost little Idaho some $110,000.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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