Greed Strikes Again

As if the impending 96-team NCAA Tournament weren't bad enough; now the greedy old men who run the NCAA are determined to destroy college basketball by creating Super Conferences. Texas moving to the SEC?  Maryland to the Big 10?  Syracuse to the ACC?  Four super conferences with 16 teams each?

Why?  What's the point?  Money of course is driving all of this.  Each conference wants to expand it's national footprint (see Boston College).  You knew once these ADs and conference Presidents got wind of the expanded TV coverage and ratings; that this consolidation would continue.

Sports are about tradition.  The NCAA is intent on ruining it.  Came someone name an expansion / realignment in the last 30 years that has benefited any sport?  Interleague play?  Please.  Expanded conferences in college?  Awful.  VT, BC, The U have killed ACC Basketball.  NBA and NHL expansion diluted the talent and created perennial doormats.

Let's stay with the NBA and NHL for a moment.  If either league had it to over again, would they?  Is the NHL better off because the Nashvile Predators exist?  They can't fill their arena during the playoffs.  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman left hockey crazy places like Winnepeg and Quebec City for "growing" cities like Phoenix, Atlanta and Nashville.  Unfortunately, none of these cities have a hockey tradition and many of these teams are now on the verge of bankruptcy. (Quick trivia: in 5 seconds or less what is the nickname of Atlanta's hockey team?)

As for the NBA, how many people are relieved that there is an NBA team in metropolises like Charlotte and Memphis? NBA arenas are half-filled these days and part of the problem is that there are too many teams that stink and a diluted league has very few rivalries.

Is it a coincidence the NBA and NHL were more popular in the 1980s when both leagues had less than 30 teams? If you disagree think about NBA All-Star weekends in the 80s. That was must see TV.  Playoff series were epic and memorable.  I remember more about the NBA playoffs in the 80s and 90s then I do about last year's edition.

It's clear that both the NBA and NHL would benefit if they contracted by 4-6 teams.  The median quality of play would increase as marginal players left the league and only cities with a passion for the sport would remain.  Even the NFL, envy of all professional sports leagues, is guilty of the same expansion hubris.  Jacksonville can't fill it's stadium.

Lest I forget, can anyone tell me that baseball is better off when the likes of Tampa Bay and the Florida Marlins serve as farm systems for the deep pocketed teams?  Wouldn't things be a little better with a few less teams? There would be less available positions for players and smaller teams would have more quality on their rosters.

Undeterred by the track record for failure outlined above; the NCAA is determined to fuck up college sports too.  God this is depressing.  I can pretty much guarantee that if the NCAA follows through on these plans; it will never be the same for me again. I won't be able to feel the same passion.  Games just won't matter as much.  The Terps will have to finish 12 in an 18 team league to miss out on the NCAA's now.  In that scenario;  how excited would you be for a game against Miami in February?  Me either.

There would be a silver lining in this mess if I could sell the NCAA and their ill-conceived plans short.  But I can't. It will be like watching a toilet overflow.  I will have no choice but to sit and watch as my favorite sport gets slowly destroyed by hubris and greed.
Author: Jeremy | 4/20/2010 7:55:19 PM | Tags: ncaa, nba, nhl, mlb, nfl, greed, realignment, expansion, superconferences |