Money is ruining college football

It is often said that the love of money is the root of all evil. Whether or not you believe that to actually be the case, you can certainly see the effect that the love of money is having on college football. And it’s not good.
Last week, the Atlantic Coast Conference took steps to add Stanford, California and SMU as new members, striking the final blow to the Pac-12. Because, as we all know, when we think of the Atlantic Coast we think of Palo Alto, Calif., Berkeley, Calif., and University Park, Texas. For the love of God, we hope there are no teachers using conference affiliation to teach geography.
Conference affiliation for major conference football stopped making sense a long time ago. This was just the latest in a ridiculous string of moves all driven by greed. School presidents and conference commissioners are all trying to strengthen their conferences to improve TV rights deals, as network television—and now streaming services—all continue to pay ridiculous amounts of money for the rights to televise major college football. It’s the reason the Big 10 actually has 14 schools, the Big 12 actually has 14 schools, the original Big East conference was gutted, the Mountain West Conference was formed, and on and on. Nobody wants to be the one without a chair when the music stops. Now that we think of it, we hope no one is using conferences to teach counting either.
With the changing landscape we lose so much of what makes college football special. Conference integrity and conference rivalries mean something. Ask the people in Oregon if they will miss the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State. Ask the people of Washington if they will miss the Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State. Also gone after this year is the Bedlam Series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Many rivalries are falling by the wayside so that we can instead have universities 1,500 miles apart play.
This will be even worse for the sports at the universities that are not major revenue drivers. While football (and to a lesser extent basketball) is the straw that stirs the financial drink, members of these schools’ tennis, swimming, etc., teams will have to board planes and constantly criss-cross the country to play a two-hour game. It makes no sense. In Berkeley they will protest Climate Change in the morning and then fly over to Tallahassee, Fla., and back in a polluting jet. Makes perfect sense.
We guess the question to be asked is just how much will the consumer put up with? The transfer portal and NIL has already turned many people off to college athletics. These giant super conferences that make zero sense to anyone other than the people counting the money will only add to that rancor.
It’s our hope that eventually the TV bubble bursts, these giant conferences fold and we go back to conference via geography and return the sport to what it once was. Wishful thinking? Likely. But in our opinion it’s preferable to the chaos we are seeing now. Stanford vs. Miami, anyone?

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