Fun or Foul: College Fantasy Football

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The University of Utah Football team rush onto the field prior to the start of the game in an NCAA Football game vs. UCLA at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT on Saturday November 16, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Carlos Padilla, Sports Writer

 

Football season has finally arrived! Both the college and NFL seasons are plugging along, with the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences readying to kick off within the coming weeks. Football season also means fantasy football season. Millions of players around the country have put on their general manager caps and are attempting to lead their teams to the championship.

While fantasy football is mostly associated with the NFL, college fantasy is available to play. While no official NCAA or ESPN college fantasy game exists, growing popularity for college fantasy warrants a discussion.

Upon first glance, college fantasy football appears to be the natural evolution for the fantasy sports world. Choosing the bright stars of the future or the starting QB of your alma mater offers a unique experience. College fantasy football also captures those football fans who prefer the collegiate level to the pros.

So what’s the issue? College fantasy football seems to be harmless fun that allows more sports fans to hop on the fantasy train. But while fantasy may appear harmless, it enters a realm that has become increasingly divided. Does college fantasy rob collegiate athletes of potential revenue from their likeness?

As more and more collegiate athletes plead their case to use their likeness for profit, every activity associated with collegiate sports has come under scrutiny. It’s one thing to play with the likeness of a multi-millionaire athlete. However, the athletes you are drafting during collegiate fantasy don’t “officially” earn a dime.

Where should college fantasy go from here?

The best solution seems to be an official NCAA fantasy league. As previously stated, the current fantasy leagues for college are through third-party websites that appear to have no official connection to the NCAA or any university. To be fair to the athletes, an official league should be instated. This way, athletes are compensated in the states that have been approved while also allowing them to withdraw their likeness from the pool. Universities would also be able to decide whether they wish to have their programs involved in the fantasy league or not.

Fantasy football for college does not have to be done away with entirely. However, in this modern climate where athletes are petitioning for compensation, the current version of this fantasy branch may not be the most suitable. Until there is some official league, college fantasy will continue to be on the fringes.

 

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@CPadilla67