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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

College football's still not the NFL, and Mack Brown should be glad

It's easy to like Mack Brown. Having known his older brother Watson during his UAB coaching days, I expected that to be the case when I first spent time around Mack in January of 2010 in the run-up to the Alabama-Texas BCS Championship Game.


The Texas coach did not disappoint. He was the kind of colorful character that made college football different and special. He spoke with candor in his own colloquial way. He displayed a sense of humor and perspective. His down-home manner, never seeming to take himself too seriously while fully appreciating the moment at hand, offered a striking contrast to the all-business Nick Saban.


All these years later, Brown and Saban are the two oldest coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Brown, now at North Carolina, will turn 72 in late August, two months before Saban celebrates the same birthday at Alabama on Halloween.


It's easier than ever to appreciate Saban, who keeps grinding and winning as an elder statesman, and it's still hard not to like Brown - until he joins the chorus of college football coaches complaining about the state of his chosen profession.


The North Carolina coach recently offered a decidedly unromantic view of college football in a conversation with Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated:


“We’re the NFL," Brown said. "We’re the mini-NFL. It’s just like the NFL. That’s where we are headed. We will never see amateurism again. It’s gone. I hate it. I thought that’s who we are, what college football is. Now, we are a farm league for the NFL with many NFL programs. We are headed toward an NFL model.”


There is no denying that college football is in a revolutionary stage - the 15-day spring transfer portal opened Saturday - but there is something off-putting about coaches in Brown's tax bracket decrying the changes that now allow the talent to share more equitably in the revenue it generates. ...


Read the rest of Kevin's column breaking down his contention that coaches like Brown have profited handsomely from college football's inequitable system. Only in The Lede.

Mack Brown is 30-22 in four seasons in his second stint as the North Carolina head football coach.


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