Billion Dollar Ball – Gilbert Gaul on Money in College Football

In his latest book “Billion Dollar Ball: A Journey Through The Big-Money Culture Of College Football”, Pulitzer prize winning author Gilbert Gaul examines the money culture of college football and how it has come to dominate a surprising number of colleges and universities.  Gaul tells host Frank Dubofsky says that the University of Oregon exemplifies emerging relationships between universities and corporations in branding colleges through their football team. “Oregon is a perfect example of the scaling up of college football. It’s had good teams on and off across time but it’s only really in the last decade…that Oregon has ranked in the top ten…and you can tie that right back to decisions that were made, including Phil Knight at Nike, in which they wanted to ramp up the football program in branding the University, to get it on television, to get it to its rightful place as a football power and began investing huge amounts of money.”

Gaul says he wanted to examine the financial model underpinning college football and the failure of college presidents to control that model as it spun wildly out of control. “The extraordinary financial model of college football now drives everything in college athletics at the elite football schools. It determines how many sports the schools offer, and which sports; how many scholarships are handed out; how big a salary the head coach gets, and so on.”