A sorry situation with the universities of Texas and Oklahoma abandoning the Big 12 to play football and other sports in the Southeastern Conference.
Just one more example of higher education forsaking principle, common sense, tradition, and geography. Leaving their fellow institutions and colleagues to fend for themselves. At a time when every school is attempting to deal with the after effects of a global pandemic. Igniting the possibility of total chaos on the collegiate landscape.
Making it worse is that all schools are also struggling with the unprecedented challenges of dealing with new Names, Image and Likeness (NIL) provisions. The schools making up the rules as they go along, especially the ones not already compensating athletes in creative ways.
Many athletic programs are confronted with a perfect storm of highly complex issues that could some of them out of commission altogether. Just look at all the businesses that have closed their doors trying to deal with effect of the pandemic. Now they’ve got to figure out how to compensate recruits while they’re assessing the uncertainty of the conference realignment landscape.
It’s not like Texas and Oklahoma need the money.
Texas is by far the nation’s top football revenue producer, valued at $156 million in 2019 by the U.S. Department of Education. By a wide margin of $33 million over second place Georgia, despite the program’s worst decade on the field since the 1950’s, per FootballScoop.com. Oklahoma was ranked eighth, valued at $94.8 million. What do they have to gain by hooking up with the Southeastern Conference? More revenue in the short term, but what good does that do them if they are contributing to the decline of the sport?
The same sources indicate that the University of Louisville ranked 38th in revenue at $47.3 million in 2019. Kentucky was 49th at $41.4 million. That doesn’t guarantee long-term security for UofL football, especially if the Atlantic Coast Conference becomes a target for poachers. Clemson, which ranked 27th at $61.4 million, along with Florida State, 21st at $68.9 million, are rumored to have made contact with the SEC as well.
Not difficult to see Louisville fans once again on the edge if the conference realignment dominoes start falling. UofL made it into the ACC by the skin of its teeth in 2014 when Maryland moved to the Big 10. No strangers to bad news these Cardinal fans.
Too late to avoid the inevitable drama. The SEC has unanimously voted to welcome Texas and Oklahoma into the conference, beginning in 2025. A beautiful sport is forever blemished and diminished when top money makers are foregoing traditional alliances for the sole purpose of multiplying their revenues.