Blum: Rise of the Super Conferences
By Brent Blum, CycloneFanatic.com ColumnistFollow Brent on Twitter @BrentBlum
For my column this week, I took a trip on the DeLorean I have parked in my yard and moved ahead in the future two years. I stumbled across this news story.
September 8, 2013
Pac-32 Adds Shanghai, Delhi to Growing Conference.
(Los Angeles, California) In a landmark move that further cements the power of the Pac-32 conference, commissioner Larry Scott announced that they have agreed to admit the University of Fudan (Shanghai, China) and the University of Delhi (New Delhi, India) into the ever-expanding conference starting in 2014. With the latest expansion the conference now sits at 32 members.
"We just felt these were two emerging programs. It was a battle to get them. I mean they have like 1 billion people each in their TV footprint," Pac-32 commissioner Larry Scott said.
The move comes as a small surprise as neither University legally sanctions a football or basketball program. When asked about the lack of athletics played at either school, Scott was indignant in his response.
"Athletics!? You think this athletic conference is about athletics? You've got to be kidding me. Do you realize the type of leverage I can pull with ESPN and Fox with the Chinese Broadcasting Network and the New Delhi Cricket News Association knocking at the door? Larry Scott is gonna get paid," Scott said.
"Plus Yao Ming came from Shanghai, so I'm sure they have a few more dudes like him hanging around. That guy was like 8 feet tall, you're telling me he couldn't have started at wide receiver for Washington State? Strap a jersey on some of 'em and boom you've got yourself a squad. Problem solved," Scott said.
Travel concerns were also raised at the Scott press-conference.
"You think I really care if some volleyball player has to take a cross-continent flight on a Tuesday night? Charles Lindbergh flew across the globe in 1927. That's right, 1927. I think they can handle a little 16 hour flight. It's 2013 for crying out loud," Scott said.
It is the latest domino to fall in the expansion-starved college football world.
Things really amped up a notch in the fall of 2011. Mere weeks after Texas A&M jumped from the Big 12 to the SEC, the then Pac 12 added Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. To counter this move, the Big Ten raided the Big East adding Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers . Not to be outdone, the Big East added remaining remnants of the Big 12, while the ACC poached chunks of Conference USA.
"That's when things really got crazy," BCS chairman of ethics Jim Tressel said. "I think the commissioners forgot about the integrity of the game."
In February of 2012, The SEC expanded to Mexico City and Tijuana adding the Universidad Panamericana and the Instituto Tecnológico de Tijuana.
"To be honest with you, we ran out of money to pay players, " SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. "That's when we felt it would be prudent to expand to Mexico. I knew there was a lot of cash floating around down there. And needless to say, those folks definitely knew how to launder money. That is a key tenant of the SEC."
"And believe it or not, those two Mexican Universities really added to our academic reputation," Slive said.
Soon other conferences found homes across the globe. The Big Ten conference headed north to Canada, while the ACC was the first to cross the pond adding schools in Great Britain and Germany.
"With the Euros starting to dominate NBA basketball, we figured it was a natural fit to head over there," Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "And with their ability to flop on the soccer field, I knew they would blend in really well with what we do here at Duke."
Like the colonization period of the 17th century, countries all over the globe were poached by the super-conferences.
"It was really fun. I felt like I was six years old again playing the board game RISK with my buddies in the tree-house!" Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said. "Although I kind of felt bad for Beebe. We picked on him a little too much. He was like that fat kid with the glasses and asthma during dodge ball. He made for an easy target."
The super-conferences spread quicker than the Bird Flu pandemic.
"When the SEC added Dubai in June of 2012, we knew things may have gotten a bit out of hand," ESPN CEO and former Texas President DeLoss Dodds said. "We thought maybe these college conferences had something other than the student-athletes interests in mind. After all, in the end, we are institutions of higher learning. But then we saw that oil money check and we were like 'screw it, this is awesome'!"
A precipitous drop in fan interest followed for the 2012 football season. Attendance lagged as fans grew uneasy of the high-priced, cut-throat direction of college football.
"People started watching baseball again because they perceived that to be more pure....I know, crazy right!" Delaney said.
But the commissioners apparently have paid no heed to the fan sentiment.
"There are more countries and planets to conquer! Did Khan slow his Mongolian empire when he combined forces with the Xi Dynasty in the 13th century?! Heck no he didn't!" Larry Scott said today at his press conference. "Did Justin Bieber stop making sweet tunes after his platinum smash, "Baby"!? No...Bieber combined forces with Ludacris and gave the people what they desired! More Baby! The people need more Bieber!"
With the addition of Shanghai and New Delhi, It is unknown what direction the super-conferences will go next.
"Gosh, life was simpler when it was just tattoos and fifty dollar handshakes," Tressel said.