Wednesday, October 15, 2003

SOMEONE (ERIC MCERLAIN? JOSH CROCKETT?) EXPLAIN THIS ONE TO ME AGAIN: Why can't BC secede from the Big East in football only? Football obviously has its own rules at the college level: no playoff system, quasi-independence, more of moneymaking thing than the old scholar-athlete ideal. Why doesn't the NCAA allow schools to make football-only associations among themselves? They allow it for other sports. Boston College ice hockey isn't going to play ACC fratboy teams for the next fifty years. Yet Boston College basketball is stuck being the one northerner in a conference full of southerners--as will, I imagine, the rest of the BC teams except hockey. What's going on here?

I GET ANSWERS: Josh writes in the comments in this post on his own blog:

[T]he NCAA doesn't care one way or another about splitting off certain sports. It's the conferences themselves that don't want (overtly) split loyalties and agendas. That sort of thing killed the Big East.

The reason certain sports like hockey, wrestling and lacrosse operate semi-independently of the established "all-sports" conference alignments is that those sports often developed that way out of club teams, independent of the athletic departments, that formed their own regional leagues.

Football and basketball, though, were pretty much what started the whole "athletic department" idea anyway. Schools tended to gravitate toward playing other schools like them, and outside the Northeast, these collections of similar-minded institutions usually grew into conferences. Splitting football off from that would be an extremely radical change that nobody's prepared to make as long as the money keeps flowing.

There you go. I can blame the conferences for believing only football/basketball matters. Which means I can blame the NCAA for signing these lucrative football contracts with the networks that make football so attractive to otherwise sane institutions. Which means I can blame the entrenched college football Division I-A interests who don't want their sport to have the same legitimacy as every other sport because they know they'll end up looking bad like when Paterno built up that gaudy record by playing Alcorn State for thirty years. Which means, as ever, the BCS sucks.

I swear that all works out. Anyhow, isn't a basketball school like BC making a football move kind of a radical change? Why didn't they just drop to I-AA when everybody else did? Stoopid BC.

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