December 2, 2012

Cash Rules Everything, Including College Sports

By - Jaquan Murphy

College sports used to pride itself on the purity of the game. A place where money didn't drive the decisions of the schools or players.

However, the recent rash of schools changing conferences has been fueled by nothing but dead presidents.

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It seems like every time you turn on ESPN, some school has jumped ship. While it may make for a great guessing game, it's terrible for college sports. Once upon a time, everything in collegiate athletics made sense. Now, things have become complicated -- and money is at the root of it all.

Before this game of musical conferences began, the alignments made sense. Conferences were grouped in with teams of relatively reasonable proximity, creating convenient travel for when teams had to play road games. Now, with these new conferences, teams have to travel hours, through multiple states, and for some, cross country just to play a "conference" game.


Simple -- money. Football is the cash cow for college sports. Winning on a local level gets the milk. But winning on a national level? Well that gets the whole damn cow.

The only way to win on the national level is to get lots of exposure. And how does a team get that? By playing in a major conference, of course.

Which is what spurs some of the most ridiculous conference jumps imaginable.

What other reason would Boise State have for joining the Big East? They dominate the Mountain West year in an year out. The only thing that can tempt a team to leave a winning situation is cold hard cash. With the potential to make more money from television revenue and the chance for an automatic BCS bid (not to mention wins against Big East schools look better than wins against Mountain West schools), Boise State is taking the sure route to a much bigger paycheck.

And if all these schools are scrambling all over the country for the biggest payday, the least the NCAA can do is change the conference names.

It's already a joke to see how money is tarnishing rivalries that have been made over the years, but it becomes an even bigger joke to have conferences with names that don't fit at all.

For example, the Big Ten has 12 teams while the Big 12 has 10. Yes, you read that right. The Big 12 will add 2 more to actually give them 12, but with the Pac-12 eying Texas and the SEC on the fence about expanding even further, who knows what the fate of the Big 12 really is.

The Big East needs a new name as well. Unless by "east" they mean any school not located in Japan. By 2014, the conference will literally span from coast to coast, having teams as far north as Connecticut and as far south as Florida; as far east as New Jersey and as far west as California.

Here's a suggestion -- the Great American Conference.

The conference committees are making moves to make money for both the schools and the conferences, but they are not factoring in one major detail.

What about the athletes?

Granted, some of these moves can benefit the players quite a bit by putting them on a national stage. But let's not forget they are student-athletes.

Where is the justice to a basketball player who plays for Iowa State but has to travel to West Virginia a few days before a final in a class that he or she needs to get a good grade in so he or she can keep the scholarship that is the only reason they were able to attend the school in the first place? Or how exactly is it fair for a kid on Miami's baseball team that has to travel to Pittsburgh right before a midterm that may very well determine if his GPA stays high enough for him to stay on the team? It works out perfectly for football players because they only travel and play once a week, but what about the other athletes?

Let us also not forget the most important thing. These athletes with no say so in this are not being paid. The most they will see from all the traveling due to the greed of the institutional leaders is maybe a newer, nicer uniform, or possibly a new playing field.

If these athletes are going to be forced to work that much harder in the name of the school, they should probably be getting a slice of the pie that these big shots are trying to make from their talents (but that is a different debate for another day).

After this season, your guess is as good as mine as to who will be playing in what conference.

The sad part is, we're not done with the shuffle by a long shot.


  1. You make alot of valid points, but can you really blame the schools? Money makes the world go round.

  2. Im tired of the "college athletes should be paid" argument. They are paid, with an education.

    1. Not all student-athletes receive scholarships -- in which case, they're paying for the education they get...