College Athletics

I have a problem with the NCAA right now, specifically the NCAA Clearinghouse. The job of the Clearinghouse is to let you know if an athlete is eligible to play. If the Clearinghouse gives a green light, the kid should be able to play without future penalty to the school. If the Clearinghouse later learns something that would cause the player to be ineligible they can suspend him, but there shouldn’t be a penalty to the school for using him while he was cleared. Please keep in mind I’m not talking about circumstances in which the school illegally of immorally helped the athlete become eligible.

The Clearinghouse has messed this up with Derrick Rose and Eric Bledsoe. Both athletes were cleared by the Clearinghouse and played. After a season of playing questions were raised about them and their eligibility and in Rose’s case, the school he played for was stripped of victories during his playing time. The case with Bledsoe hasn’t made it that far yet, but it shouldn’t even be a concern. In my eyes one the Clearinghouse clearing someone to play the school should be immune to repercussions of using that player. To me this would be similar to the Supreme Court telling you it’s OK to sell a product, you selling it, the Supreme Court changing it’s mind, then prosecuting you for selling it. If they just change their mind and tell you to stop selling it, no problem, if they try to punish you for selling it when they said it was OK, there is a problem.

College athletics are about to change once again with Colorado and Nebraska leaving the Big 12. Colorado is leaving for the Pac 10 and Nebraska for the Big 10. There are all sorts of guesses about what will happen next, with Texas leading the pack, and many thinking Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech will follow Texas, if possible. The most common assumption is all 5 Texas and Oklahoma teams joining Colorado in the Pac 10. I’m not certain this will happen because I think the SEC will make a run at Texas and accept any of the Texas or Oklahoma teams in order to get Texas. Texas is the jewel of the pack because it is the richest athletic department in the nation and it brings a large TV audience with it. If Texas and the other schools decide to go with the Pac 10 expect the SEC to raid the ACC. I’d guess Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson would be on top of the SEC recruiting list because the complete intra-state rivalries in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. I’d also guess the next 2 on the SEC list would be Louisville and Miami.

If the ACC loses any teams, expect them to shift north and take a few Big East teams, which only has 8 football schools. I’d expect the ACC to go after West Virginia, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Connecticut, only needing to get 3 or 4 of them to replace the teams that left for the SEC. They would have competition for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who I believe the Big 10 would talk to, in addition to Notre Dame, Missouri, Iowa State, and possible Cincinnati and Louisville.

When the 2013 football season kicks off, here are my predictions for Conference membership:

  • ACC – Miami, Central Florida, South Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Connecticut, Boston College, Syracuse, Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati
  • Big 16 – Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Ohio State
  • Pac 16 – Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.
  • SEC – Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, and Louisiana State.
  • The Big 12 is gone. The Big East is essentially a basketball conference. Kansas and Kansas State are left standing when the music stops.

The irony of higher education right now is the Big 10 now has 12 teams while the Big 12 and Pac 10 have 11 teams.