Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Big Time colleg sports talk today. The news that the ACC Votes in Favor of Expansion could have serious reperscussions throughout the college athletic world. The obvious bid by the ACC is to strengthen as a football conference by enticing the Univ. of Miami into the fold, they will also try to drag in two other teams, probably from the Big East, and probably Syracuse and either Boston College or Virginia Tech. That would put the ACC at 12 schools, allowing them to break the conference into two divisions, with each regular season winner meeting in an ACC Football Championship game. This would allow enable the ACC to continue to be a viable and important player in the NCAA's jury rigged Bowl Championship Series that is going to be revamped in a couple years. Bottom line, it's about the money.

So what does this mean for the other schools in the Big East? First, the other football schools, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, Temple and one of either BC or VaTech (whichever doesn't get invited to the ACC) will have to seriously think about splitting off and forming a new conference, perhaps with the likes of Cincinatti, Lousville or some other Conference USA types of schools. This would be the only way they could maintain viability as a football conference. The possibility of a football Big East is there, but it would be more likely that the Big East as a conference would be essentially blown up.

For much of the Big East, this means that their basketball programs would be in jeopardy of dropping a tier. Specifically, the Catholic schools that don't have football (Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova) would be at a big disadvantage. You would see the Big East basketball conference attempting to entice schools from other conferences, most likely Atlantic 10 schools like Temple, Dayton or the like would seem logical. This would then send shockwaves through the college basketball world as larger conferences robbed slightly less prestigious ones of their better members. This all results in the rich getting richer and the little guys being put at even more of a disadvantage. Capitalism. I love it in the real world, but I'm not sure that it is necessarily a good thing in collegiate athletics.

This move could also prompt Notre Dame to merge with the Big Ten to ensure it has a seat at the table when the BCS comes up for review again. Or they could maintain their independence and continue their relationship with the remnants of the Big East basketball schools, most of whom would also be Catholic institutions. This last would allow the League to essentially operate on similar moral grounds, if you will. Perhaps even a school like Holy Cross would be enticed into the Big East given the Catholic angle. It's all very interesting for a sports nut and points to the ever growing aspects of big business type mentality that is taking over college sports, especially football and basketball. If anyone thinks these kids are amateurs in the truest sense of the word, this should be a wake up call. The disingenuous administrators of the NCAA and these big conferences long ago stopped placing their primary emphasis on the well being of the student athlete. It's all about the money.

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