Thursday, October 13, 2011

TCU to the Big 12

I was really looking forward to the TCU/Providence basketball rivalry.

In a move that should have happened years ago, the Texas centric Big 12 finally extended an invitation to Texas Christian University. Bucking the recent trend, the Horned Frogs are making this decision, as Ivan Maisel wrote, “because of geography, tradition and history, rather than in spite of them.” Go figure.

TCU’s move to the Big East was laughable when it happened, but everyone in college athletics knew why. If football is the cash cow for universities, then TCU has a prize winning heifer with no blue ribbons. The move to the Big East was a desperation move to cash in on their success, regardless of how it affected their basketball/Olympic sports.

Now, their women’s volleyball team can drive five hours to Lubbock instead of boarding a plane for New Jersey or Connecticut.

 As absurd as TCU’s jump to the Big East seemed, it’s a part of life for smaller college programs. Louisiana Tech is forced to partner with Idaho, Hawai’i, and two California schools in an attempt to keep pace with the rest of college football. Ironically, the Bulldogs are sacrificing their other sports to cater to football, whose revenue makes the other sports possible.

Money, as always, drives these illogical moves that make a mockery of the NCAA’s definition of a student athlete. When football teams are competing for millions of dollars that accompany a spot in a contrived “national championship”, or the honor of playing in bowl games that serve the corporations that sponsor them more than the school, it’s difficult to continue calling them amateurs.

Actually, it’s downright disgraceful.

The entire system looks more and more like a snobby fraternity. The big successful schools are in, and the smaller peons have to prove they’re worthy enough to be a part of the club. Boise St., TCU, and Utah have been on the outside looking in despite wins over Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin. Utah and TCU are finally cool enough, but Boise apparently still has some shaping up to do.

It’s hard not get cynical with all this. TCU will make the Big 12 stronger and may save the conference from the brink. Utah to the Pac-12 helps both the conference and the university. But when TCU’s announcement headline is accompanied with their 15 year wait to be reunited with the other major Texas schools, it makes the invitation seem condescending and belittling.

I’m not advocating for major conferences to become non-profits, but the BCS system these schools operate in has become so unfair it’s sickening.

I know this rant will join a long list of others against the absurdity of the BCS, but sooner of later someone has to start listening... right?

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