Source: USC and UCLA are planning to leave for the Big Ten as early as 2024. Move *has not been finalized* at the highest levels of power.— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) June 30, 2022
Shocking if it happens. More dominoes would fall…ie- could see Colorado and maybe Utah then jump to the Big 12. Have to also wonder about ASU (roughly the largest enrollment in the country in one of the largest and fastest growing metros in the country) as well as UofO (Phil and the Nike money, high-end football & basketball, etc.). Result may be some sort of merger of MWC and whoever is left in Pac-12.
And could lead to the Pac-12 abandoning their long time requirement for members to be Research institutions and in generally the flagship public universities of their respective states (USC and Stanford obviously aren’t public but they check the research institution box, are on the large side for private institutions and are academically elite)…to open the door for say Boise St., SDSU, UNLV, etc. joining the remaining Pac-12.
And the relevance to the WCC…Gonzaga could then jump ship to whatever the remnant Pac-12/MWC morphs to; gives GU a viable west coast oriented conference to avoid some of the travel and logistical pitfalls of their Big East option.
On the other hand, maybe seeing how quickly even a “Power 6” conference can implode due to football ambitions, Gonzaga will do the sensible thing and stay put where they’ve shown they can make multiple title games, etc. etc.
I don’t doubt that the siren song of prestige and ego will likely lure Gonzaga if all that happens. But out there be monsters, namely, the college football arms race. The Zags think they’re big dogs until they try to match their might against say, the Oregon Ducks football program.
Universities have lost their collective mission. Between ever-skyrocketing tuition (roughly 3x the rate of inflation since the Federal Student Loan program was broadly implemented and funded in late 70s-ish timeframe), massive business of collegiate sports (namely football and men’s hoops), and illiberal (as opposed to classical liberal thought) anti-free speech/thought policies purportedly to provide emotional safety to students, universities have become detached from reality. The only reason universities developed in the first place (University of Bologna was the first Western university, right?) is because they were the places where knowledge resided, and where the organized transfer of that knowledge was aggregated and codified. The internet has changed that, knowledge is no longer contained solely by the oligopolistic institutions of higher learning, but rather now available anywhere and everywhere in the ether. Enterprising education entrepreneurs are figuring out new ways of effectively distilling that knowledge to Gen Z’ers and beyond who don’t want to swim in college debt for the first 30 years of their post-graduation career. Where will that leave universities? Adapt or die, and I think many will indeed perish.
I endorse this rant and, call me “old school” but have similar thoughts about what universities have done to the concept of truly AMATEUR sports.
The entire process of moving to different conferences to follow the money is exasperating. The amount of travel for these “student athletes” is ridiculous. USC and UCLA will have a 4 hour plane ride to their closest competitor, Nebraska. West Virginia in the Big 12 (now 8) makes no sense as well as Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma in the SEC. I would think UCLA would be prohibited by the state of California from making such a move without state approval. Taxpayer money to support this??? The concept of amateur sports has become a joke in the big elite schools, particularly those with football programs that pay the way for everything else. These schools should be labeled “semi-pro” not college.
I wonder if my law school alma mater, Colorado, will be looped in with another (ASU? Utah?) to the Big 10 to bridge the gap, physically, and add another TV market (Lord knows all they care about is TV revenue). Certainly don’t deserve it from gridiron performance, but hey, neither did Rutgers or Maryland.
Does UCLA use taxpayer money to do any of this? Or is the athletic budget sourced from athletic revenue (of which they are presumably about to have tons of?). Feels like it can’t be completely paying for itself.
I think they took UCLA to cut the Pac more deeply. They took both LA schools rather than, say, Oregon and USC. Now the TV money from LA is less or gone for the Pac, which hurts very badly.
where does this leave Stanford and Cal?
The IVY League!!! (Just joking, maybe not)
I gotta think that Colorado and the Arizona schools are Big 12 or bust. The Big 10 is almost certainly going to incline its head if it hears interest from Oregon, maybe Washington. But few other schools really add much to the Big 10. Maybe Stanford just so the Big 10 can lay claim to the old “Conference of Champions” moniker by swallowing all three of the bigtime non-revenue champs in one gulp.
Poor Oregon State…