Greed Gets Greedier: The Death of Great College Sports

Justin MorseContributor INovember 8, 2011

With Missouri joining Texas A&M going to the SEC, University presidents have decided that long standing  rivalries don't matter to them, but that making money means more.
With Missouri joining Texas A&M going to the SEC, University presidents have decided that long standing rivalries don't matter to them, but that making money means more.Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

College sports have held a strong place in American society. As fans, you appreciate what the student-athletes have to do every single week. They must get the best grades that they can along with practicing every day and playing on game day.

They play the game that they love while getting an education, something that should be celebrated. This is what makes them different from pro athletes. In the NFL or any other professional league, you are told to practice and play, but grades are no longer a factor.

It was upsetting to hear recently that the university presidents have decided to break away from the core values that make college sports the best and try to aim for bigger endowments for their schools. They will do anything, even break long standing rivalries, to make a quick buck, which is tough for us fans.

With the Big 12 losing longtime members Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri over the last two years along with the Big East fighting for their dear lives to keep the members they already have, the situation looks bleak. The Big East has already lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. All of this leads to one conclusion: Greed is killing the greatness of college sports.

We, the fans, have been told that the Big 12 is unstable because Texas has its own network, and it can make money off of that. Some other schools are looking at that as a way to get out and make more money, just as Texas A&M did when joining the SEC.

I found it funny that everyone is saying that the Big 12 is unstable, because it reminds me of a line from Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Shia LaBeouf's character Jacob Moore talks with Josh Brolin's character Bretton James about Lewis Zabel and how Zabel’s firm was destroyed.

Bretton James: “The rumors were true.”
Jacob Moore: “You made them true.”

It seemed that this would bode true for what is going on with the Big 12. Everyone kept on saying that the Big 12 was unstable, and therefore made people in their own conference believe it.

With Missouri leaving for the SEC, its legendary rivalry with the University of Kansas will be lost. That rivalry stretches back more than a century to 1907, and now it has been cut off. While they have been in talks about setting up a system where they could face each other every year at a neutral site, the lore will be lost because they will no longer be battling for a conference title.

According to an article in the Kansas City Star, Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton said, “We’re not abandoning our past at all,” and he is right, he is not abandoning it. He burnt it to the ground, leaving no remnants of it.

Some of the factors were money, according to the same article; the Big 12 gave Missouri $10.4 million in generated revenue for the 2009-2010 academic year while the average SEC school made $18.3 million in the same time frame.

This destruction of college football affects many conferences besides the Big 12, because the Big East is also trying to invite whoever will join, including Boise State, Air Force and BYU. Now if you have any knowledge of the United States, you will know that Boise State would have to travel 1,882 miles to get to the closest Big East football team, the University of Louisville.

The Big East is like a mother trying to buy all the toys she needs for her children on Christmas Day. They are in worse shape than the Big 12, because while they have to deal with poaching from the ACC, there aren’t many natural fits that could help the schools left in the Northeast. In the Big 12, you still have many schools in Texas, like a Houston, that could help you out. Now the Big East has invited them to their conference, leaving many people scratching their heads.

While the Big East was never a great football conference, it is one of the best basketball conferences in the nation. They have one of the greatest championship tournaments, and it is held in the greatest arena on earth.

Now if you take Syracuse and Pittsburgh away from that, you lose a historic tradition that made the conference so legendary. People always remember Syracuse’s six overtime victory over No. 3 UConn because it was magical, and it happened in Madison Square Garden. Now, you have a team like SMU that has to travel more than 1,000 miles to make it to the Garden.

It is a shame that greed is destroying great rivalries and great competition between schools. I can understand that everyone is looking for money one way or the other, but it is disgraceful to hear everything that is going on. There have been talks about four 16-team conferences, and I believe that will happen.

College conferences were at their best when you had small numbers of teams and could develop intense rivalries that could last years. But like all things, everything must eventually come to an end. With that in mind, I believe that some of the university presidents have been listening to Gordon Gecko lately when he said, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

Greed is eroding college sports into a spiral that can only lead to one thing: the death of great college sports.