Saturday, April 10, 2010

Virginia in the Big 10? Don't Discount It

OK, how's this scenario fit for you:

Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Duke and Notre Dame join the Big 10 (which is actually the Big 11), taking it to 16 teams.

Meanwhile, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado join the Pac 10 (we'll drop the math at this point and let you figure it out), which kicks out some of its lesser academic lights, but retains USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona and maybe Arizona State. The other schools are left to fend for themselves in the Big 12, WAC and Big West.

The reason for all this manipulation, according to a blogger named Scott Wilson (based in Denver) is money and academic prestige. There's money in football and big-time basketball, of course, but when you look at the endowments of the schools mentioned here, you're dwarfing the few millions brought in for sports by those institutions. Research is also a key component of the dollar draw.

But the sports prestige--BCS, Final Four, World Series, etc.--is important. You probably don't think much of Virginia as a football or basketball school right now (given last year's results), but last week, the Cavaliers had three No. 1 sports teams (baseball, lacrosse and tennis) and its academics are world class--along with its endowment. Likewise for Duke, UNC and Notre Dame. Maryland hangs slightly behind them.

But what happens to Virginia Tech, which only reluctantly got Virginia's vote to enter the ACC (arm-twisting by Gov. Mark Warner was crucial)? It stays in an ACC that brings in the best of the Big East and creates a less-impressive academic, more impressive football conference.

All this is fascinating stuff--with some real potential to happen--and you can read it all right here. My pal Tom Cain, whose attention is generally on weighter matters, sent me this link. It's perfectly typical of Tom's penchant for analysis and it's a good read.

1 comment:

  1. I'm far from authoritative...but I am from Big 10 country. Seems like a stretch.