Conference shake-ups creating a lot of controversy
The way things are going, five years from now who knows how many conferences will be left in collegiate athletics. The days of the super conferences are here, but coaches, players, and fans want to know when will things settle down again?
No one is really certain when all this hoopla will cease, but one thing is for sure it's been crazy. It all started last year with Nebraska and Colorado leaving the Big 12, with Nebraska going to the Big 10 and Colorado moving to the Pac 12. Moves that made sense regionally and financially for both schools. In late September it also became official that Texas A&M will be joining the SEC Conference for the 2012 season.
Fueling those moves and the recent troubles for the Big 12 was the Texas Longhorns and the installation of the Longhorn Network. This scared a lot of schools in the Big 12 because of ESPN's financial stake in the network. For example, if ESPN wants to televise a game between Texas Tech and Texas on LHN then that would be the only station allowed to show that game nationally. Basically, teams in the Big 12 are saying what is to stop ESPN and Texas from choosing what games they want televised and what games they do not want televised.
The Big 12 announced on October 3, 2011 a revenue sharing plan would be put into effect once all the current members agree to stay in the league for six more years. The profits made from LHN are not included in that agreement because LHN is considered an institutional network. The revenue sharing plan does help the Big 12 with trying to keep it's current members, but Missouri still looks like they're getting ready to bail for the SEC.
News came this week that the Big 12 invited West Virginia to join their conference to replace the Tigers, with the Mountaineers accepting although sources say things are on hold for the moment. The Big 12 also picked up TCU, who prior elected to go to the Big East, but wanted to renew their rivalries with Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech.
The Big East Conference has probably taken the worst beating out of everybody when it comes to the conference shake-ups. Syracuse and Pitt have joined the ACC, although that move most likely won't take place for another two years and West Virginia is headed to the Big 12. That leaves the Big East with only five teams left in their football conference. The Big East basketball conference also loses three huge members with the loss of Syracuse, Pitt, and West Virginia and two founding members in the Orange and Panthers.
This is apparently where Rick Pitino comes in. Pitino is lobbying for the addition of Memphis and Temple to the Big East to fill the voids left by Syracuse and Pitt. The move makes a lot of sense and so does Pitino's explanation of why they would be a good fit for the conference.
"I understand what we're doing for football, but the Big East core is inner-city basketball, and Memphis and Temple fit that core," Pitino said. "They are everything we need. We have to get back to our core."
The addition of Temple and Memphis would also benefit the Big East because they both have football programs. Memphis hasn't really been that competitive as of late, but Temple is definitely on the rise behind animated Head Coach Steve Addazio. The only problem I foresee with the Temple move is Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats putting the block on the Owls. The last thing Wright wants to see is his Philadelphia recruits heading to Broad Street rather to his Villanova campus just outside the city.
It's obvious that collegiate sports are in a place right now where anything can happen. Who knows where anybody will be in the upcoming years, but as long as there isn't any college football or college basketball lockout I really don't care.