The NCAA isn't spineless, it's toothless. The Association has been beat to hell by a string of antitrust lawsuit decisions going back 40 years.
Basketball would likely have already had a privately run CFP style tournament had the NCAA not bought the NIT to stave off an inevitable loss to the NIT because of a stupid rule that said if you are invited to the NCAA Tournament and turn it down, you are ineligible for postseason. Incredibly obvious violation.
Our courts are stacked pretty deep with judges who are skeptical of any sort of restraint on free markets and they are slapping the NCAA right and left.
Absent Congress granted an antitrust exemption, genuine pay for play is coming and with it most likely a union and a collective bargaining agreement that sets minimum compensation standards that no one outside the P4 can afford and some in the P4 can't afford.
If the NCAA and P4/5 gets slammed as bad as many expect in pending litigation ($4 billion is a possible verdict) its going to be insanity.
You are going to see some of the P4 who can't just cough up their potentially as much as $58 million share of the verdict. They are going to turn to venture capital firms who are going to be willing throw hundreds of millions maybe billions at P4 athletic departments for a percentage of all future revenue.
Imagine a bunch of schools selling their souls to venture capital and then being pressured to form a new conference that doesn't include those schools who take out more than they contribute. Sorry Mississippi State and Vandy we need your share of SEC revenue.
This business got full on pro there won't be 69 Power 4 schools.
College football isn't going to die.
There are 772 four year colleges playing football, up four from last year with 11 more in the process off adding football.
What is going to die is unpaid football at the schools in the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, and Big XII.
Gee whiz schools in AAC, CUSA, MAC, MWC/P2, Sun Belt likely won't go play football at those schools for a million plus any more and won't be blessed with their top teams getting a crack at the P4 lower tier teams in a bowl.
College football will live on.