Well, for me, it will be when I can no longer afford to support the program when the price for entry is supporting the 7-figure "salaries" of a bunch of kids whose only differentiator between NU, OhSU, USC, and UTEP is the size of the NIL deal. Take the "college spirit" out of the equation, and all you get is a lower level NFL feeder league. At that point, the general public won't be interested enough to pay for the product.
The "college spirit" is already gone. I could argue it's long gone.
The collapse started when demand resulted in every game being televised, which brought in huge TV money -- many times more than 20+ years ago. That resulted in coaches making many times more. From a couple hundred thousand in 1990 to $5-10 million in 2023. That was the beginning of the end.
Scott Frost made $40 million for coaching Nebraska to a bunch of losses. No "college spirt" in that; it smells like the NFL.
Yes -- I agree -- as I said, the best way to kill the financial momentum of the sport is to stop spending money on it -- tickets, concessions, souvenirs, even just watching on TV to feed the advertisers -- that needs to stop. Whining about players making too much while still supporting the sport financially is counterproductive.
Reality is, there will likely be enough people with enough money to keep it going. The stadium will be a reduced capacity, and tickets will be much pricier before the end of this decade.
Fans pay big money for seat licenses and tickets to NFL games -- so why wouldn't they spend money for the college game which is already nothing like it was last century? The college spirit is dead. Sure, it'll weed out some income levels from attending, and the fan base will become increasingly corporate and white collar. Some fans decided that long ago. My grandparents gave up their long-time season tickets in the 90s when Bill Byrne jacked prices to allow for Nebraska to build the facilities necessary to compete in the increasingly costly sport. I know of quite a few others who did the same. The sport will continue to get more expensive, and more and more fans will be weeded out. Many fans were outpriced years ago.
I think some fans are grasping at a fantasy that college football is somehow still an amateur sport. It's already big business. That won't change. College football is much closer to the NFL than the game it was when Osborne was coaching. That goose won't die -- it's a different goose. The original goose died 20+ years ago. We seem okay with paying coaches tens of millions -- and the hundreds of millions needed to continually upgrade facilities -- again, a long ways from when I was a kid growing up in Nebraska.