February 20th, 2013 10:00 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: ACC, Alabama, Big East, Georgia Tech, Gordon Gee, Karl Marx, Mississippi State, SEC, Southern Conference
When Ohio State president Gordon Gee admitted last month that there seems to be “movement towards three or four super-conferences that are made up of 16-20 teams,” he was stating what many already suspected. While some may envision a sporting landscape that includes four conferences of 16 schools each, there’s absolutely no reason to believe leagues will stop growing when they hit that imaginary ceiling. If a conference believes there’s more money to be made with 17, 18, 19, 20 or more schools, you can be sure that conference will expand accordingly.
Over the past three years, we’ve seen as much movement, as much shuffling as the college sports world has ever known. A chart of this evolution would show a slow rise from ape to man from the early 1900s to the 2000s… and then a huge leap forward to a man with both gills and wings in the 2010s. For the geeks out there, consider these the X-conferences. And the mutants are taking over.
Here’s a look at what’s transpired since 2010:
* The ACC has lined up Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Louisville, but it’s lost Maryland.
* The Big Ten has added Nebraska and it’s scheduled to add Maryland and Rutgers.
* The Big XII has added TCU and West Virginia, but it’s lost Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri.
* The Pac-12 has added Colorado and Utah.
* The SEC has added Texas A&M and Missouri
* The Big East, well, that list is too long to mention. Ditto those poor, poor leagues smaller than the Big East.
With the exception of the Big XII and the revolving door that is the Big East, the biggest conferences have been getting even bigger. Money is the obvious motivation. Conferences are adding schools so they can make more television dollars off an increased amount of content (games). Schools are switching conferences in order to find a better pay day.
But if history is a guide, don’t expect any super-conferences currently on the horizon to stick together for too long. Contracts, grant-of-rights agreements, and exit fees be damned… those leagues expanding to 18, 20, or more schools will eventually splinter right back apart.
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