Conference shifts may spell issues for college football

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With Syracuse University already starting its football practices, it’s obvious that those of us who follow college football are already gearing up for a fun season.

But there have been other recent developments that could change the gridiron outlook.

Texas and Oklahoma notified the Big 12 that they will not be renewing their grants of media rights to the conference after 2025, the first formal step in the two athletic powerhouses’ move to the Southeastern Conference.

That move, which has already imperiled the Big 12, is almost certain to accelerate the ongoing transformation of college football and other revenue producing sports from “amateur” to professional -- a change that could very well negatively impact some programs for decades to come.

The change toward a largely unregulated, much more professional business model could very well hurt some teams, particularly those from smaller colleges.

With the increasingly powerless NCAA announcing it is stepping back from some regulations and enforcement, smaller schools’ size and location are likely to work against their being able to compete economically and, subsequently on the fields and courts.

The changes won’t happen overnight. Texas’ and Oklahoma’s media rights grant to the Big 12 doesn’t expire until 2025. So it’s unlikely that any moves by any schools to new conferences won’t happen until 2022-23, at the earliest.

But changes that will forever alter college sports as they have been known are coming.

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