Nebraska AD foresees performance-based revenue distribution model

LINCOLN, Neb. -- New Nebraska athletic director Troy Dannen expects revenue distribution in college sports to become more performance-based over time, resulting in an "eat what you kill" model.

Dannen, hired at Nebraska last month after less than six months with Washington, told ESPN that the future model for the College Football Playoff mirrors what will happen around the greater college athletics landscape. Last month, the CFP and ESPN agreed to a six-year, $7.8 billion contract with a revenue distribution plan that will give Big Ten and SEC schools more than $21 million annually, significantly more than schools from other leagues.

"There's going to be some meritocracy versus more of a social approach to revenue distribution," Dannen said. "You'll eventually see that within leagues. You'll eventually see that across sports, maybe other than football. An eat what you kill, in some respects, that mentality. It's going to be much more performance-based and outcomes, when it comes to generating the revenue necessary to compete.

"The CFP decisions that have been made so far show that."

The Big Ten Conference has operated with an equal revenue distribution model, as higher-profile athletic programs like Ohio State and Michigan share with smaller and less-decorated schools. Dannen noted that other leagues also have prided themselves on equal revenue sharing, but that the CFP model is "a tipping point, maybe, for where the future lies."

"A lot of things that we've historically prided ourselves on are no longer relevant in the new day and age," he added. "For those who refuse to let go of the embrace of the past, the future is running by us."

Nebraska has never made the CFP and last qualified for a bowl game in 2016, a far cry from the team's three national championships in the 1990s and 22 league titles from 1963 to 1999. But Dannen thinks the program has no limitations on recapturing its championship tradition, especially if it makes necessary investments in name, image and likeness, and other key resource areas.

He noted coach Matt Rhule's previous successes at Baylor and Temple, strong facilities and a large, passionate fan base that has sold out 396 consecutive games at Memorial Stadium.

"You can't get lost in history," Dannen said. "History shows you what you're capable of doing, but it doesn't show you how to do it tomorrow. So I think we need to balance our history with the new era, and not just the era today, but the era that lies ahead of us and how we're going to support student-athletes and make sure that we are a leader and as progressive as we can in how we're moving forward."