Baltimore Sun: Maryland’s application for admission to the Big 10 Conference approved.
Another post, from Rob Dauster at NBC Sports, making the rounds today has it that this could be another step towards four superconferences and posits this comment:
You know, I really, really hate writing about this stuff. It sickens me. So much tradition simply evaporates as these schools chase every penny possible. I’ll leave you with this block quote, because it sums it up about as well as I ever could:
Is there anything more sickening than watching almost EVERYONE associated with college sports, from the media to the athletic directors to the school presidents, try and convince the world this industry — and that’s what it is — is about college kids and a good education when, at every turn, they literally chase every single penny they can?
Of course, collegiate sports isn’t the only aspect in which colleges and universities are trying to “chase every penny.” As long as state funding of public higher education remains stagnant in places, more and more universities rely on corporations and/or wealthy donors, and the infusion of certain values into higher education that run counter to the very idea of what a “liberal arts” education is designed to be: To make citisens.
Whether anyone likes it or not, the recognition of an institution among most people is through its athletic identity. The overemphasis of one aspect (athletics) over the other (academics) help lead to things like what happened at Penn State, where I think people forgot that PSU is a fine academic institution where the power of athletics was utterly and on many levels abused in a distasteful way.
Every time a school plays a football or basketball game on television, it’s a way of publicity for the school. Every time a school gets national TV for a big game on ABC/ESPN or Fox, they run an advert for the institution during the game (usually after halftime on broadcasts), usually extolling that school’s academics and student life. It seems like the NCAA’s cop-out way of trying to prove that they’re still all about amateur sports and the purity thereof (ha ha), but it’s still necessary to me because there’s still more to a big college or university than its athletics identity.
And even here, the balance is still woefully shifted towards the big schools. We rarely if ever see NCAA Division II or Division III schools on national television (maybe on ESPNU, which isn’t widely available and is a disappointing channel anyway), we almost NEVER see NAIA schools (the NAIA is the other major oversight body for intercollegiate athletics, mostly populated by small schools. In Oklahoma, Langston, OCU and USAO compete in the NAIA).
Conference realignment – mostly the destruction of traditional rivalries (in Maryland’s case, against Virginia, UNC, and Duke) – makes fans hurl, but unfortunately it’s become just ONE aspect of how what some view as a distraction has become paramount when money is involved (and lots of it).