ESPN sees the writing on the wall with the NFL, NBA, MLB networks and know that eventually they won't have game rights for those sports like they do today. College sports is where they will start to segment the market more and start to drive more money.
I disagree ,the NFL isn't going to give up the money from ESPN to put those games on the NFL network. The NFL network doesn't reach enough viewers now. TheNFL network must allow local coverage for the two teams playing on those Thursday night games. No way the NFL network gets MNF instead of ESPN.
ESPN needs the NFL to keep getting those obscene rights from cable and sat companies.
As for the NBA and MLB - as long as ratings are high enough to justify the rights paid for those games,ESPN keeps those games.
I don't see the NBA channel or the MLB channel getting enough from increased ad dollars and sub fees that they would turn down all those $$$$ ESPN pays for those games.
Also I doubt many collage commissioners are going to allow individual school networks. That would just devalue all current and future tv contracts for each sport .