Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random Thoughts - Conference Realignment

I have to admit. All of this talk about conference realignment in collegiate sports is kind of making my head spin. I'm not even sure people care - but I do know that it comes down to one thing and one thing only. Money. Schools are scurrying all over the country to make 'super conferences', but believe what you will about rivalries and keeping traditions in tact, Schools are just going where they will have financial stability and the opportunity for their institutions to profit the most. And you know what? I'm not mad at them. Read for more thoughts on the realignment fiasco after the jump...

Texas A&M started all of the drama when they announced that they want out of the big 12 because Texas got a new TV deal with ESPN. Yeah, I would be pissed too if my in-state rival just inked a deal worth $300 million to publicly broadcast all of their athletic programs for the next 20 years. The amount of exposure the Longhorns get from the TV deal with ESPN will crush any rival schools when it comes to recruiting. Aren't all the blue chip athletes going to want to play at a school that is already partnered with ESPN? For Texas A&M the playing field was no longer level. They needed to do what was in their best interest and they opted to leave for the SEC.

As the Big 12 continues to figure out which schools are leaving / staying (if any) and where they are going, things in the Big East were shaken up over the weekend as well. Pittsburgh and Syracuse took the proactive route and announced that they will be leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Apparently there will be a contractual obligation of 27 months' notice to vacate - so the earliest we would see the 'new ACC' would be in 2014.  However, unlike the Big 12 - the Big East is much more of a Basketball-dominated conference. The addition of Pitt and Cuse to the ACC makes them the best basketball conference bar none. I'm giddy at the idea of an ACC tournament that will boast Duke, Pitt, UNC, & Syracuse. Not to mention there have been talks about potentially adding two more teams - UConn and Rutgers have been mentioned.

It seems as though the next few months will be a puzzle of moving pieces. Which schools will fit in where?  Which Conferences will completely dissolve? How many 'Major' conferences will be left? Which Schools will get completely shafted? (I'm curious to see what happens to Georgetown and TCU) 

I'm not sure what will happen in the coming months, but my advice to those making the decisions: Follow the money.

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