There is nothing collegial about big time college sports. There hasn’t been for a long time, and the situation is only getting worse. The weekend stealth bomber decision by Pittsburgh and Syracuse to bolt the Big East for the ACC sets the bar of greed in this arena to a new high. There can be no question now that the tail is wagging the dog. And please, let’s not kid ourselves; it is about greed, and greed is about lots of money.
Syracuse is a founding member of the Big East Conference and Pitt was not far behind. They enjoyed the bounty the league got for them, especially in basketball, but none of that seems to mean a thing to them now. They just dumped the girl they dated for decades for someone who, at the moment, looks prettier. Just a few months ago they both opened their arms to a new member, one that could enhance its football conference, but TCU probably did not even get a Dear John letter from them. And they really did do it all like a drug deal going down in an alley. They seemingly took their well-known and highly successful basketball coaches, Jim Boeheim and Jamie Dixon, down to the basement and had them bound and gagged while the Presidents and Athletic Directors did all the dirty work. And the greed accelerated even while the ink was drying and on the exchange of letters between the two schools and the ACC. The conference was already talking about adding two MORE schools AND playing its basketball tournament in New York City where the Big East tournament has been wildly successful for decades. You talk about dancing on the grave!
Of course this is going on all over the country, but at least the Big Ten looks like a deliberate body that makes decisions that are thoughtful and well designed. Penn State joined all those years ago but came as an independent, and Nebraska was a good fit and made its move just in the nick of time. Its old conference, the Big 12, is about to implode and the Big East may not be far behind.
What is really sad to hear and see are pompous college presidents talking nonsense.
The chancellor of Syracuse said her school was just reacting to “instability to the landscape.” Wait a minute, what did you just do? You created even more instability.
What we will end up with are four, maybe even as few as three, super conferences all really controlled by the big bucks of football and TV contracts. They will be so big that the NCAA will have little real control over them. For instance, even if all the accusations against the University of Miami football program are proven, they will not get the so-called death penalty. Won’t happen because the ACC and its television contracts will rule the day.
I have no idea how all of this will impact Notre Dame. As I write this it is clear Notre Dame doesn’t know. In addition to football and the future of the Big East on basketball and most of its other sports, there is the hockey program to think of. The CCHA is in deep trouble now that the Big Ten schools have decided to form their own league.
If I had a vote it would be to go to the Big Ten and don’t wait.
Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, and Notre Dame going to the Big Ten would secure the future.