All About the Money: Killing the CFB Golden Goose?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 20 Comments

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At what point is chasing the dollar going to turn the college football (CFB) fan away? To me, there is a line that when crossed means we lose a large enough percentage of CFB fans to hurt the athletic budgets across the nation. I don’t think we are there yet, but I believe “we can see it from here.” Is that true for you? Where is your line?

Over the last decade of FishDuck, I recall people “quitting” as Oregon fans and as CFB fans as a whole. With some, it was usually during a player or coach scandal, and this was the last straw. I remember one left when one of our coaches got a big raise, as he wanted out of all communications and declared “the money has corrupted college sports.” Buddy, you hadn’t even seen the worst of it!

Another fellow was a FD writer who wrote over 40 player bio articles and former player articles. The amount of hours he put into the articles–between the interviews, the writing, and the photo selection–was enormous. One day, shortly after Mark Helfrich was fired, he was infuriated with how the superb assistants were treated  (and he was right). He not only quit as a writer at FishDuck but wanted his name removed from all articles and never wanted to hear from any of us or anything Oregon ever again!

Craig Strobeck

He objected to how good people at Oregon were treated…

He objected to the treatment of the coaches, but made a big point about how the trend of such big money in college sports would ultimately ruin it for everyone. Prescient words.

You know where I’m going with this.

Last summer, when we had player demands for payment and for changes in playing conditions, I had a number of emails declaring that he/she (these are names that post here and that you know) was about to flick it in being a CFB fan. Now when we consider the exorbitant coaches’ salaries, the new player NIL, the destruction of conferences, the loss of rivalries and traditions, watching players bolting from a team to the portal in a heartbeat or rushing to the pros … and we see all of this for the money?

At what point are we all turned off? 

Like Colonel William Travis at the Alamo, are you ready to draw your line in the sand? Or will it matter as the forces of greed scale the walls and overwhelm college sports regardless of where you stand?

I fear for the future, for Our Beloved Ducks and the sports we dearly love.

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Jeff White

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I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

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Speaking of Mike Jorgensen, he recently got married!


You going to break down the scrimmage from Saturday? Heard some interesting comments on Twitter…but don’t really trust those comments (aka AB was the 4th best QB on the field, which is hard to believe).

Steven A


I gave up on pro basketball in the 80’s when the cokeheads were getting those 5+ steps without a traveling call and stars’ poop didn’t stink in the blind eyes of the officials.

Then pro football when a supporter of the 1st amendment can’t get a job while wife/girlfriend beaters and other known felons reaped millions regardless of their off-field deeds.

Baseball is Okish now that they seem to be cleaning up their act (plus the Giants are in first)

College sports is my last hope Obi-Wan Kenobi. So, I am good for the duration and am looking forward to how the NIL pans out.  

Plus, we now have the entertainment of 1) watching Mark Emmert go down with the USS NCAA; 2) the un-nameable up North going crazy with our recruiting success; 3) the non SEC conferences seemingly deciding to put up a fight.

So, I will pull up my electric lounger, sit back and be thankful I chose the U of O over the rest of the Pac 8 for my schooling. However, I must admit, only 2 of eight were in the running….Stanford wouldn’t return my call/application; Cal too many tears due to gas; SoCal, ‘nough said; UW, my sister was there; WSU, same state my sister was in; end result, I chose wisely.


Again Charles, thanks for the stimulating thoughts….and I’m really not up for “thinking” on a smoke-filled Monday afternoon. However, I think there is a whole lot more at work re the future of sports and college sports in particular. Any more, I could care less about professional sports other than to follow the fortunes (literal and figurative) of U of O grads including the ladies in the woman’s professional basketball world.

The absence of interest among the IT generation, those aged 20-40, is concerning. As we old codgers head off to the heavenly end zone who will be our replacements? So many of our youth are utterly blase’ re both the high school and the college sporting world. That future takes hold within 10-15 years.

I further think the challenges of both that “super conference” in the southeast and the NIL money concerns will have a truly negative affect on football in particular. But there is an upside…….just think of all the taxes these newly enriched elites will fork over to the governments and ya think they won’t they be upset that maybe 40% of their “earnings” will be going elsewhere?

The next few years of muddling through all aspects of $$$ and conference affiliations will be interesting.


I for one have always tried to be a person who “votes’ with my wallet.
When I’ve had enough, I shop elsewhere.

As a result, college sports are all I currently watch. But for how long?!

I don’t have a line in the sand yet, but I have already reduced my financial support of the school for things I disagree with.
As the landscape changes for ncaa sports, losing fans is a real possibility. Just check out viewership for all pro sports, even Olympics. When fans get fed up, they will leave.
Attendance at college football games has been trending down all across the country for several years. Now you add in all these other potential issues, and it could be damaging to the golden goose.
Because if football loses, all sports lose.

I believe the next couple years will be quite telling for the future of things.
1. The decisions the Pac12, B1G, ACC and even Big12 make will dictate how much the SEC & espn control the future of college football.
2. Whether the NIL stuff settles down or spirals out of control remains to be seen.
3. The Portal already seems to be losing its magic as so many players are still in it. Maybe that too will settle down more.
4. Will schools find a way to keep us fans interested and entertained enough to keep forking out the $$.

I am not a fan of how the NIL has started out. I’m not opposed to some income, but large amounts, no. This is one area that could push me away. But that’s me.

Meanwhile, if the Ducks and the coaching staff keep improving and play an entertaining style of play, I’m still all in!


Excellent ponder-point Charles! Timely and insightful.

I’ve long chaffed at the arms race mentality of paying head coaches more, more, more. Paying assistant coaches more, more, more. While giving the players a scholarship and letting them figure out how to eat.

Once Disney/ESPN took over the SEC, it has become more than ever, the haves and the have nots. How long before the prize athletes simply quit signing to play for the have nots?

For me, the tipping point is when we are given our first all sec playoff. Won’t that be fun?


I almost went to a kids game over the weekend, and it wasn’t even my kid. I just wanted to see kids playing for the joy of it, struggle, succeed and ultimately go through the emotions of watching pure expression as a team.

The problem is these kids are coached by a professional coach. The kids are told exactly what to do, when, how, and it has been rehearsed. The dream of the parents is starting on the high school team, and maybe a college scholarship, Sports everywhere has changed.

For me college athletics is most at risk through the transfer portal. When the uniform is all we are cheering for, then the game is hollow. This is a big reason why I don’t watch the NBA, who are these guys, ‘oh he played for x, then y, and now he is playing for z?’

I love seeing the recruits who have signed on to play for the Ducks. Their dreams become my dreams, and then we have a transfer come in. I get it, it is just competition, but these guys are family and the transfers are from elsewhere. They aren’t about the Ducks, in my mind, they just want to play, and maybe get to the pros.

When Helfrich was bringing in transfers to lead the Ducks I knew something was wrong. You have to pick kids, develop kids and help make dreams come true, for the kids and the fans. They become like family, the LaMikes, Herberts, and others who have chosen Oregon, and fought for Oregon, make me want to watch college football. I want to watch them in the pro game too, but then they start changing teams and I lose interest.

I suppose this is partly why I want to see Brown replaced by one of the young guns. I want to see one of our guys succeed. When that stops being the story, I stop being an avid Oregon Duck Fan.

It begs the question, are we just cheering for the uniform, college or do we create, want a bond to the student athlete’s.

For those who just want their school to win I suppose the players don’t matter? I am not criticizing, but pondering what other’s think.

I really, deep down, don’t care so much that we win, but are the student athlete’s becoming greater people. The wins tend to be an indicator, I agree. In the old days, of Oregon Football, seeing some great plays was when you knew these underdogs were learning, beginning to understand teamwork, and the value of effort, whistle to whistle, not just wins. Great photo of Jorgensen against ND, one of the greatest games in Oregon history, and not a win.

The whole money thing doesn’t really matter to me either. I think it can ruin the ‘game’ for many, but these are young men and money is a big part of becoming an independent individual in our society. I would rather see student athlete’s learn a bit about money while in college than the big fat cats get even more.

I find value in knowing players are part of a team, playing for each other. This is why I enjoy Ted Lasso so much, I suppose. Most recently, with Lasso, the great player was kind of in the portal and nobody wanted him. I think the portal may be part of the learning curve for some, you have to be a team player for a team to want you, unless it’s the NBA, I suppose. Some teams will learn this lesson, it seems Cristobal is in my camp, not too active in the portal, just recruit and develop.


Happy Monday Charles!

The Good:

  • Kids can make some money and not have to worry about forfeiting games for trading a signed jersey for a tattoo (i will forever think the NCAA is ridiculous for this)
  • if you can truly market yourself different from the rest, then in the ultimate capitalist country, you know, the one that invented it and moved away from the European “king and taxes” model, then the more power to you as it was written
  • some of the kids can benefit from the efforts they have put in over the years in training and building a brand and worry a bit less about tearing their ACL twice and being a draft bust (Just think of the cash The Boz would have had pre-shoulder collapse!!!!)

The Bad:

  • a divided locker room: A sport, that more than most, needs a WE attitude becomes a ME attitude. I mean, how good will Dr Pepper Clemson QB gonna be without his 5 hogs up front? If I was on the O-Line at Clemson, I could potentially be thinking “I will block for you, but only for a big slice of your pie…”
  • team division between the haves and the have-nots. This is GOING to happen, because it has all over the world in other areas.
  • arguments and infighting over who gets what, who gets signed, who gets the pampering that kinda already happened in the SEC as we all know

The Ugly

  • Resentment. And what I mean by this, is what I touched on above. Receivers dropping balls. Linemen “forgetting” to block. Running backs “fumbling”. D men missing tackles. All because someone who’s stats are below theirs at that point in the season is making way more money on the side than them.
  • Kids making money before they even take a snap. Now, i don’t wish ill on anyone, but wouldn’t it be “pie-in-the-face” if the Bama QB didn’t take a snap this year because he suffered a Lawrence Taylor level knee hit in practice?
  • Pay for play or NFL “light”: teams stockpiling talent, like Bama or even Oregon, because the money on the side can be used to take “preferred walk-ons” and stockpile the talent into one stable. I can see a guy turning down Virginia Tech as a 4 star, just to practice at Bama as a paid walk-on for 3 years, only to transfer to Vanderbuilt or Purdue in year 3 or 4 to get starter playing time (because he can sell himself as a Bama talent!!!!!!)

Lots to ponder Charles! I would wager this will all come to fruition in some way!



Charles, you touch on controversial issues within the perspectives of ethics, culture, education, sociology, sports and more. The responses and comments invoked by your article will be interesting to consider.

As an older man who has lived through seven decades while following six decades of Ducks sports, most avidly football, the pace of recent changes is astounding. But while traditions are fading, I understand that new ones are being formed.

Today’s consumers and fans thrive on “new” demanding continual evolution. Beer branding is illustrative of fragmentation where ‘new” smashes tradition.

Major college football has become national entertainment and a 12-month hobby for some of us who follow recruiting, spring practice, summer camp and all the news leading to the season.

Money, commercialization, consumerism and affordability have pushed many away from college football. Others have been attracted to today’s brand and the hoopla around it culminating in the college football playoffs.

The power 5 conferences with their revenue streams moved CFB closer to elite or premier leagues separating from other colleges and universities who were left behind.

Dr. Spencer Johnson wrote a book titled, “Who Moved My Cheese” about change and managing changes in our lives. It has been said that the only constant in life is change. That axiom is certainly true in today’s world of college sports.

I am such a fuddy-duddy that I still hold on to the fighting duck logo inspired by Disney. I do not like the updated Duck logo (duck head).

For now, I enjoy college football and the changes in its systems. I’m looking forward to its evolution, though I will miss its traditions. I look forward to the future.

Especially the future of Fighting Ducks Football. Go Ducks.