The Death of the Big East

Orange Crushed.

News broke over the weekend that Syracuse and Pittsburgh applied to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. Less than 24 hours later, they were unanimously accepted, and ripples are still being felt throughout the Big East. Should we even be surprised any more? Is this move the final tipping point? The NCAA is a corrupt monolith and conference affiliations are now a joke.

Colleges and universities use to belong to conferences due to geographical and economical reasons. Teams like Boston College, UCONN and St. John’s we’re in the Big East because that’s where their schools were. But slowly geography became less important. Cincinnati and Notre Dame joined the Big East despite being in the Midwest. What we saw over the summer with the Pac-10 and Big-12 was only the beginning.

Now, it’s all about one thing: money. What matters now is how can each school best positions themselves to make the the most money in every sport (especially football) off their invaluable “student athletes.” Far more intelligent scholars and writers have already covered this topic. But what kills me is that schools maintain bullshit excuses and reasons for the defections.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse want to make more money and they feel they can do so in the ACC. Syracuse verse Duke in basketball and Pittsburgh verse Miami in football is a much better payday than Syracuse verse DePaul and Pittsburgh verse Rutgers.

It’s 2011–I’d like to think that people and fans are smart enough to understand the business model and accept the capitalist nature of these school making moves. So, as the Academic Institution, just be straight. Just come out and say that athletics funds most academic programs and most alumni donate to the alma maters because they have a strong connection to a particular sport. And while you’re at it, how about you stop being such sanctimonious blowhards and pay your star athletes instead of suspending them for minor infractions.

By now, the idea of a conference is romantically archaic. Teams can travel anywhere to play anyone at anytime. The idea of one super conference like the PAC-12 is an even dumber idea. Why not just form a league like the NFL or NBA. Create divisions, or conferences and make a master schedule for the best 30 schools in the country. Create a true minor league for the pros. Do away with the absurd notion that kids who make more money for your school are expected to be satisfied with a full academic scholarship when you know damn well none of them even go to class. There’s a storm coming for the NCAA and if they don’t go radical, the whole institution will crumble.

Yea, I’m sad and disappointed that it looks like UCONN will be the next big school added to the ACC. Sure, rivalries with Georgetown and St. John’s won’t feel the same, but fucking up those soft Duke and UNC pussies in the ACC would be awesome. Mike Tranghese went on ESPN and shared some thoughts more eloquently. Maybe the ACC tournament will be held in Madison Square Garden someday, but it will always be where Kemba Walker became a star in the Big East.

Fans can’t be naive anymore. College sports are big business. Business equals money which equals greed. While the Big East defection won’t officially happen for another two years, this move, along with the several others to follow from school across the country will shape the landscape of college sports for decades to come. We can sit around and bitch about it, or just accept it and enjoy the games.

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Filed under Amateur Analysis, Blog, Sports

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