College football remains America’s largest multi-level marketing plan | college football

aAbout 30 minutes from the second episode of the Amazon original series LuLaRichThe Latest addition to our increasingly popular catalog documentaries And reveal Exploring the admirable, if ethically questionable world of multi-level marketing – viewers are finally persuaded by the troubling logic at the heart of most American business models. In the world of MLM, success has little to do with selling products (in this case the colorful pantyhose produced by a California company called LuLaRoe), and it’s all about selling a promise. One that, by its design, should often not be mastered.

“There has always been a great drive to enlist, enlist, enlist,” Courtney Harwood tells, one of a handful of sweet former LuLaRoe retailers that provide the narrative heart of the chain, referring to the distinct focus of multi-level marketing on recruiting new members rather than selling the product to a third party. “Buy, buy, buy. Recruit, hire, hire,” she adds, “You’ll get there.”

What makes LuLaRich, and other MLM-based content so irresistible to viewers, is that Harwood’s references to “there” are often an illusion, usually touted by a charismatic, hypnotic founder whose rhetorical and aesthetic is a bleak blend of evangelist Bailey Graham and the 1970s in Consumer Electronics, Crazy Eddy. Watching hoaxes in the middle of the entire establishment slowly disintegrate is good television as it turns out.

Anyway, what we learn along the way is usually some variation on a theme: the affluence and prestige promised to everyone who signs up with a multi-level marketing firm will only be enjoyed by a small cadre of the elite, whose success nonetheless continues to depend on an army of enthusiastic followers who They continue to chase the dream. They are the ones who support the system, generating the fortunes enjoyed by those at the top.

“If you look at a multi-level marketing scheme, you’ll see that more than half of the money goes to the top 1%,” Franchise Expert Robert Fitzpatrick He intervenes, as most of those interviewed look directly into the camera. More than 80% have no one without them. They have to lose. So, the structure itself wipes out the vast majority.”

If any of this sounds familiar — a system built in favor of a small elite class, unnaturally pessimistic leaders who speak in self-help clichés, exploitative work practices…recruitment — you might be a fan of college football.

It is worth saying out loud, for the good of all, that half of the teams participating in the NCAA football subdivision have no chance of winning the competition they are competing in. This is not a bit of a mind debates for you. When I say they don’t have a chance, I mean that no matter how they perform on the field, they likely won’t be able to make it to the playoff that crowns a champion.

It’s a really simple math issue. Only four teams of 130 FBS-level competitors will be selected to participate in the College Football Playoff, and decisions about who deserves those coveted spots will be left to a 13-member panel that serves as the sole referee. So unlike its basketball counterpart, where winning your conference session automatically earns you a bid and the selection committee argues over which two or three mediocre teams deserve the last 36 top spots, you’re analyzing the relative strengths and weaknesses of programs that won all or all but one of their games. . It’s incredibly impressive margins, and the result is that schools from the so-called “Power Five” conferences – SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 – have an overwhelming advantage, especially those with huge numbers The stores of a cultural and economic capital such as Alabama, Ohio or Notre Dame.

In my many years covering college football, this cliched, unspoken fact about the competition’s core structure has not failed to amaze me. It’s amazing and unique in American and world sports that teams so willingly participate in a competition in which the same framework does everything they can to deny them the chance to win no matter what they do, and that includes finishing their season unbeaten.

The list of schools that ended up setting perfect records since the turn of the century but were frozen from any semi-baked playoffs or championship finals that were on the rise at the time is long and may be even longer by the end of this season. Utah in 2004 And 2008And Boise in 2006 And 2009And TCU in 2010 And Central Florida in 2017 They all finished their seasons with perfect records but never got any closer to a national title than a trip to a more lucrative, but ultimately meaningless, bowl game. The competitive equivalent of a pat on the head.

They were celebrated by fans and the media alike to be sure, but because they came from outside of the Power Five mentioned above, having a seat at a high table college football was the longest. As with LuLaRoe and other franchise systems, it is this surprising proximity to success that ultimately exposes the fraud.

The most prominent outside players aspiring for this season come from the American Athletic Conference in the form of the University of Cincinnati. Soon enough Bearcats You will enter Big 12, a Power Five with which an undefeated record will come close to securing a place in the playoff. But for now, they’re still members of the college football proletariat, and they were meant to be little more than a windmill.

If fans forgot this, they got a rude reminder on November 2 when the first Playoff Rankings for College Football and Cincinnati found itself in sixth place, From the outside looks at the playoff of four teams. This though 8-0 scoredAnd Ranked 2nd in both the AP and Coaches Poll And Road win over undefeated Notre Dame.

Three weeks later, things started to improve. With a little help (ironically) from the University of UtahThe Bearcats cracked the top four and found themselves on the cusp of becoming the first non-Power Five school to do the playoff, but their position is barely secure. They could lose one of their remaining two games of course, but regardless, the odds are always stacked against those outside of the college football aristocracy. Given the chance, there seemed to be little doubt that the committee would break Beerkat’s hearts.

Whatever happens, it should be clear that the problem here is not effort. Besides success in the field, Cincinnati enthusiastically participated in the college athletics arms race as well, spending Stunning amounts of stadium renovations And Coaches’ salaries. Everything the sports department requires, according to one report, $250 million in subsidies From university coffers over the past decade a plus.

This is to participate in a competition that does not guarantee them anything, even if they win all their matches. As Fitzpatrick put it, they are part of the vast majority “doomed to fail.” Like retailer LuLaRoe who buys box after box of leggings on the promise that they might also end up on stage with the founder, raining down his glitter and celebrating his financial independence, FBS schools outside of the Power Five are being duped.

You might be excused for thinking that the Bearcats’ impending rise to the Big 12, or even a poor showing in this season’s playoff, would prove the goodwill of college football, but you’d be wrong (just ask 11-0 Texas-San Antonio who’s 22nd away) in the latest CFP rankings). An outsider that has crashed the party in the 23 years since the introduction of the Bowl Series — and with it some pretense of a cohesive competition structure — is hardly evidence of anything. Except that sometimes, or perhaps necessarily, there must be an appearance of equivalence.

As with many aspects of American life, the have-nots in the world of college football are a trait rather than a fault of the system, serving as fodder and providing the illusion of stiff competition, which will inevitably lead to another Gatorade bathroom for Nick Saban. They offer the bodies of their “student-athletes”, the resources of their university, the hopes and dreams of their alumni and their fans for the faintest sniff of the riches and prestige granted to the best of them.

If momentum means anything, we may one day have an extended extension format, and hopefully that format will be available to all FBS programs. In fact, it may be more of a foregone conclusion if Cincinnati finishes undefeated and misses. Either way, it can’t come soon enough for me. There are many problems in college football, and while we can’t fix them all at once, we can start with the most fundamental. We can make the competition itself, well, an actual competition, rather than a hierarchical scheme.

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