Fans vs. moneymakers
directors, conferences, the NCAA, and TV.
To Bacon, Michigan AD Dave Brandon is the quintessential moneymaker, symbolized by his decision not to fund the Michigan Marching Band's trip to last year's season opener at Alabama (donors eventually stepped in to cover the cost). But he's at least as hard on OSU, where he highlights coach Urban Meyer's long history of fielding problem players, and Penn State, whose leaders failed to stop sexual predator Jerry Sandusky.
But at Penn State, he also reports the inspiring story of how the football team fought to stay together after the scandal broke. And he praises Northwestern for striking the best balance between school loyalty and business necessity--he says it's "the school where I thought all four of those [interests]--president, AD, coach, and players--worked most in harmony."
If universities aren't careful, Bacon says, they risk alienating the very people who care most about college sports. "Once you reach that threshold, once that breaks, it's very difficult if not impossible, to repair."
[Originally published in September, 2013.]