Oklahoma football: NFL Draft shows that parity has left college football
The NCAA announced last week its name/image/likeness reform that basically will allow athletes to be compensated for endorsements. The initial theories say the rich will get richer in college football, that endorsements will flow in markets that are eat up with the sport.
In Birmingham and Oklahoma City and Columbus, a commercial with a campus quarterback might sell a car or two. In Los Angeles and Chicago and New York, not so much.
But a few days before the NCAA announcement came an event that sheds more light on the subject of parity. In the NFL Draft, 14 LSU players were selected. Ten each from Michigan and Ohio State went. Toss in the nine draftees from Alabama, and 16.9 percent of the 255 players drafted were from four schools.
In the 27 years since the NFL Draft was reduced to just seven rounds, only thrice have the 10 programs with the most picks in a particular draft accounted for more than 30 percent of the total selections: 30.6 percent in 2006, 31.2 percent in 2017 and 32.5 in 2020.
The two most top-heavy drafts in NFL history have come in the last four years, which parallels the advent of the four-team College Football Playoff. The playoff has gained stature; the rest of the college football post-season, including major bowl games when they’re not the national semifinals, have slipped.
And the recruiting seems to show it.
In the first NFL Draft that contracted to seven rounds, 1994, only one school had more than six draftees. Notre Dame with 10.
In the last four NFL Drafts, Alabama has averaged more than 10 picks per year, 10.25. In the last five NFL Drafts, Ohio State has averaged 9.0 picks per year.
We knew college football parity was gone. Clemson dominates the ACC. Oklahoma dominates the Big 12. Ohio State, with an occasional uprising, dominates the Big Ten. And the SEC dominates everyone, with LSU winning it all in 2019 and Georgia dang near in 2017.
The playoff has become paramount. Players appear to be making decisions based more than ever on getting to the four-team tournament.
The talent has become less spread out. Not that long ago, the mid-majors would produce a bumper crop. The University of Buffalo had six players drafted in 2014. Connecticut had five in 2013. Boise State six in 2012. South Florida five in 2010. Cincinnati six in 2009. Hawaii six in 2007.
That doesn’t happen anymore.
So exactly how are endorsements going to make this situation even worse? They aren’t. The elite of the elite already are getting the best talent. It’s dang near a monopoly.
If you don’t like the new NCAA rule on name/image/likeness, fine. But don’t use a devotion to parity as your cause. That one already is lost.