Green Room

Rutgers, Maryland Join the “Big Ten”

posted at 4:16 pm on November 20, 2012 by

Let me stipulate right out of the gate that sports-related topics lie beyond Hot Air’s wheelhouse..usually, at least.  But hey, it’s Thanksgiving week in America, and football is inextricably linked to the holiday — so how ’bout some pigskin talk?  (How’s that for a stretch?)  As a Big Ten grad and a huge college sports fan, I’m fascinated by the latest earthquake in the ongoing conference realignment saga:

Rutgers is joining the Big Ten, leaving the Big East behind and cashing in on the school’s investment in a football program that only 10 years ago seemed incapable of competing at the highest level…Rutgers has been competing in the Big East since 1991. But the league has been picked apart by conference realignment, and the Scarlet Knights were looking for a way out…The move follows Maryland’s announcement Monday that it was joining the Big Ten in 2014.

Traditionalists are repelled by these developments, arguing that neither Maryland nor Rutgers fits the geographic profile of a power conference that has been historically rooted in the Midwest.  Other critics lament that the shifting landscape of college athletics has been dominated by an ” it’s all about the money,” mentality.  Case in point: The Big Ten, which will soon boast at least 14 members, is clearly trying to make major inroads in two of the largest media markets in America, namely New York City (#1) and Washington, DC (#9).  If you doubt that’s a (or the) major consideration behind the expansion, read this story about News Corp — parent company of Fox, Fox News, and the Big Ten Network — acquiring a massive stake in the New York Yankees’ YES Network, and connect the cable-subscriber-fee dots yourself.  I have no problem with college sports being run as a lucrative business.  That’s simply a reality.  At the same time, I value the ideal of the student athlete, and the concept of college sports as a competition among amateurs.  Yes, I recognize that these lines are frequently blurred, and unethically so, in too many cases.  From a purely selfish standpoint (setting aside the serious discussion and/or concern trolling about the demise of “pure” intercollegiate athletics), I have to admit that I’m excited that I’ll be able to watch my team play here on the East Coast with greater regularity.  The inevitable re-branding of Rutgers as New York City’s college football team begs a crucial question:  Have these “B1G”  machinations caused iconic NYC resident Allahpundit to catch college football fevah?

A few exit questions™ for those in the gallery who care about these things: (1) Is college football inexorably headed to three our four so-called “super conferences”?  (2) Should college athletes be compensated monetarily for their services, considering that they’re crucial participants in a multi-billion dollar industry?  (3) Where should conservatives fall on these sorts of questions?  On one hand, conservatives tend to value tradition and loyalty.  On the other, we’re capitalists at heart.  Feel free to discuss.  And Go ‘Cats.


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