Ultimately, the money that built the NCAA is going to be what kills the NCAA. When the NCAA wasn’t very profitable, they had gambling scandals. As the NCAA got more popular (and profitable) the money ended up on top of the table instead of underneath, but the people that made the big money off college athletics still weren’t the players, so there was always a possibility of shady dealings.
Now, there’s no way to turn off the flow of money without smothering the golden goose with it. That’s just the reality. All the tournaments in beautiful locations, the games on national TV, etc. All of that is a product of the money. The NCAA tournament used to be held in campus arenas. Only a handful of teams made it (mostly conference champs). It has grown so big, but in reality, the popularity of college sports is maxxed out.
The NCAA can’t really become a global brand. The NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. are all marketing overseas because that’s where the biggest potential for growth is. Other than games on military bases, the NCAA doesn’t have any international interest, so the overall marketability of the NCAA is limited to its popularity here in the U.S. There’s no more money to be made. ShoeCos get more bang for their buck from the pro game, so if the NCAA starts hassling them, they will just move away from colleges rather than deal with the headaches.
The same goes for TV. If there are other events that are more marketable, the TV money isn’t promised forever. There’s nothing that absolutely says the NCAA basketball tournament has to be on TV for a BILLION DOLLARS. The money could very easily dry up. I posted on another thread about how much KU gets from TV, ShoeCos, the conference (bowl payouts) and the NCAA (basketball tournament payouts). It’s about half the athletic budget. If that portion of money were to go away, college sports would change dramatically.
Actually, let me put that another way. If college football or college basketball were to change in any way, the college revenue pie would change dramatically. Right now, the athletic department at most colleges is outside the school itself. It can do that because ShoeCo, TV, and NCAA money makes that possible. Take any of those revenue sources away (or drain them in any substantial way) and athletic departments become insolvent pretty quickly. Are boosters gonna pony up the $50M in lost revenue every year?
The business model is flawed. I like KU basketball, but I have no problem seeing a flawed business model fail. That’s capitalism for you.