My grandma always tells me “money is at the root of all evil” and she’s right yet again. Multiple reports say that the Maryland Terrapins and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will join the Big Ten Conference on Monday to push the league to 14 teams. What started on a message board as wild speculation now looks like it will become a reality.
During the last wave of realignment, which was dominated by the ACC, the rules were changed. The conference bosses forced any team that wanted to leave to pony up 50 million bucks to get out of their contracts. Maryland is apparently so desperate, to become relevant again, they are ready to spend that money to call the Big Ten home. Rutgers on the other hand must have felt the Big East is becoming irrelevant and it was best to bolt now before you looked like damaged goods to other leagues. I really don’t blame these two schools for making the move but why would the Big Ten bite?
The commissioner of the Big Ten is Jim Delany. He’s a happy, go lucky guy who talks a good game with the press but when it comes down to it he’s a money hungry executive ready to ravage the college football landscape. Remember folks, this is the same guy who was against the college football playoff before he was for it. His ego is forcing this move to happen. If you want to expand your conference that’s one thing but to bring in two middling programs is not the way to do it. Go get the Notre Dame Fighting Irish which at least would preserve your traditional regional makeup.
It’s time for the NCAA to step off the sidelines and get involved in this mess. College sports is cannibalizing itself before our very eyes. We are well on our way to getting four super-conferences, in a move that will minimize the little guy even more. If you are a fan of a team in the Big 12 or Big East now, you better hope and pray your team even has a shot 10 years down the road. Survival of the fittest sounds great on paper but when you take away a staple of college sports by doing that, it backfires.
When the playoff finally came together, early this year, we all rejoiced that common sense was followed and the will of the people was heard. Unfortunately moves like this prove once again, college sports is a business that just assumes its fans will follow along. Forget that. It’s time to take a stand for what matters. Rivalries and competitive balance are at stake.
Like my article? Hate it? Let me know on Twitter (@tmichaelcronin). I look forward to your thoughts!