A big chunk of sports fans look at the mess in college sports — a mountain of cheating scandals, conference realignment driven purely by greed — and wonder why the NCAA doesn’t step in and bring some sanity to the situation.

Well, here’s why: The NCAA’s not in charge.

The major football conferences, and the football programs within those conferences, are running the show. And it’s not pretty. A cartel known as the BCS (Bowl Championship Series), comprised of the six biggest college sports conferences, has hijacked college sports and left every other school in its wake. The formation of the BCS was greed based. (“If we band together, and tell the rest of the NCAA to take a hike, we can keep most of the TV money for ourselves.”)

The Washington Post‘s Sally Jenkins does a nice job outlining the history of the NCAA’s power decline in her column, “NCAA Lost Its Teeth in Court in 1984, And No One’s Been in Charge Since.”

The current conference realignment craze is the result of infighting within the BCS cartel. The big conferences are stealing schools from their fellow BCS rivals to protect themselves, i.e., keep the money they have while scheming to get more. Individual universities are leaving their current leagues to chase the almighty dollar, and in the process are chucking long-time rivals and traditions. Geographic location is now moot. Texas Christian University (TCU) left the Mountain West conference for the Big East conference for a bigger paycheck and then left the Big East for the Big 12 conference before ever playing one game in the Big East.

A side effect of these football-based decisions is that the other sports programs under the university umbrella are being negatively impacted. Basketball and soccer teams are having to take on the same crazy travel schedules as their football peers. See “Football Realignment Gets Basketball Coaches’ Attention,” Denver Post.

The world of college sports keeps getting uglier and uglier. Greed-based anarchy reigns supreme.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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