I have to say that I really surprised to hear you putting LAX into the conference realignment puzzle You've banged on the drums from the beginning that this is driven by academics/research and football to the extent that even basketball is a long-forgotten consequence. Living in Maryland when Maryland basketball made a real run and later when multiple LAX teams were at the top, I can tell you that LAX plays a significant back seat to college basketball. And this is in what I would think is one of the bigtime LAX centers in the country.
@DanHogan Not disagreeing with you. But if you were to rank the sports, wouldn't you come up with Football, Basketball, Hockey, Baseball/softball, volleyball, soccor, T&F-XC, Gym & Wrestling, Tennis, Swim&Dive, Golf, Rowing, LAX and finally Field Hockey? Base your rankings on how many fans show up, and I think the above is pretty close to what each conference draws (some schools may draw more for wrestling than T&F-XC, but think of averages from a conference stand point).
Guess my point is that its just another selling point for TV markets & conferences (every little bit helps)?
@ezgame I'd probably agreet with your lineup with some geographic adjustments. In the midwest, hockey fits right where you put it (thanks for that) but baseball would probably be even lower. In the south, baseball might be higher and hockey is non-existent. In the mid-atlantic, lacrosse almost certainly sits at #3 with the others being well behind it.
My point is this.. With realignment being so football-focused that schools like Kansas and UConn end up at the mercy of the stream. The C7 had to change the rules of the game by leaving the football-focused world before they got any leverage at all. If they weren't already in power leagues, I'd guess schools like Kentucky and Purdue would be out of luck too. And, no, UNC and Duke aren't desired for their basketball prowess -- it's that research dough that conferences want a piece of. If the clear #2 sport doesn't move the needle much in most cases, I'd be surprised if the debated #3 sport did anything at all.
@DanHogan @ezgame But that's confusing two different types of influence. Conference realignment is so football focused because of the different economics of football and basketball ~ more of the media value in basketball is in championship tourneys, and only a relatively small fraction of media revenue from the the NCAA tournament gets paid out to participants. Indeed, since part gets paid out to schools based on number of athletic scholarships, and football is the most scholarship hungry sport, basketball media money subsidizes football directly.
But that does not mean that the influence at all schools is anywhere nearly so football focused. Basketball has a lot of clout with alumni givers at UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and etc.
The main reason both the SEC and the Big Ten are lusting after UNC in their hearts is because of already important and relatively rapidly growing media markets. But because they are both wooing UNC, what is of interest to UNC becomes of interest to those conferences. The fact that the Big Ten is a more diverse all-sports conference than the SEC is an additional point of differentiation it will use in selling itself to UNC, alongside more prestigious academics, Major as opposed to Mid-Major level basketball strength of schedule and a higher conference payout.