So the great college football realignment of 2010 has mostly ended, and, needless to say, it was a bit underwhelming.
The Big-12 stays afloat with ten teams, and the Big-10 now has a conference title game. The Mountain West gets stronger, while the Pac-10 adds a valuable Denver market.
The Texas Longhorns had an opportunity to set the whole NCAA on it’s ear by moving to the Pac-10, taking it’s fellow Texas and Oklahoma buddies with them, and creating the first of numerous “superconferences.”
Instead, the world is spinning (mostly) the same as it was. Why?
Look, I’m sure Texas’ stance on the academic reputation of the SEC holds water, just as I’m sure the Big-10’s desire to add an Association of American Universities member has some truth to it.
But don’t kid yourself into thinking those were the real reasons. This was always about money, and how teams can maximize the amount coming into their coffers.
Texas’ decision to stay in the Big-12 allows them to do two things they couldn’t do if they moved to the Pac-10 or SEC. One, they can continue to get more money from any conference TV deal than other schools – the SEC has equal revenue sharing – and two, they can launch their own network, which is a no-no in the Pac-10.
This is how big fishes stay big. This is why the Yankees created their own television network. If you’ve got the clout, and the history, you can become self-sustaining. That’s what’s really going on here, and while the Baylors and Kansases of the world are profusely thanking the Longhorns for not rendering them homeless, this was a purely self-serving move by Texas.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In big-time college athletics, the amateur label really only falls on the athletes themselves. For teams and conferences, it’s just the way things are.