Mack Brown's Longhorn program is in the midst of an extended rough patch, but Texas has one of the most lucrative athletic departments in collegiate athletics and they've only gotten richer. In 2011, they launched The Longhorn Network, which will pay them $300 million over the next 20 years. Texas' budget has allowed Mack Brown to become the second-highest paid coach in all of college football. Brown recognizes how rich he's gotten on the backs of student-athlete performances and he's part of a growing chorus of coaches speaking up about paying players.
Texas coach Mack Brown: “I do think players need to be paid. These players are killing themselves & at Texas last year we made $163M.”— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 24, 2013
During Wednesday's Media Day, Brown also agreed with the notion made by Big 12 Commissioner's Bob Bowlsby about creating a separation federation within the NCAA consisting of programs from the "big five" conferences including the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. No Big East, sorry, but at least Texas isn't supporting secession this time.
Mack "Gordon Gekko" Brown thinks all you second-class programs can get out the way. If you play in the big five conference, you might be getting a check someday. Otherwise, don't expect USC and Texas to share the wealth with these welfare-collecting non-AQ conference schools.
"I agree with it," Brown said. "I think that at some point we need to realize that's where we're headed. We've always tried to make rules for every level and have it under one umbrella, and it's never worked. When we tried to get instant replay, we couldn't because some [schools] couldn't afford it. When we tried to go to the 40-second [play] clock, we couldn't because some couldn't afford it. When we wanted to put the microphones in the helmets for quarterbacks, we couldn't because some couldn't afford it."
Brown said the five conferences would make enough money from the future playoff -- published reports indicated ESPN paid $5.64 billion or $470 million annually in a 12-year deal that runs through the 2025 regular season -- to finance the lower leagues.
"My thought would be to take the group of teams that has it all and let them play it out," Brown said. "You have the NFL of college football. You'll make enough money out of it to make the next group. You can make it really exciting and fun for them, but let them play within their own element. Let them play at their own level. Don't try to make something out of something you don't have. Then you'll have the last group and you can make it a great little league. They can enjoy it.
"We're going to make enough money that we can pay for all of it," Brown said. "[You'll have] the Super Bowl league and then a really good league that has teams that are fun and then the guys that can't afford it. It's kind of what we've done, but we've been BCS and non-BCS and money and no money. I do think this time we need to get it right. We didn't get it right last time."