By Ken Reed

Texas and Oklahoma have left the Big 12 for the SEC because their thirst for money is unquenchable. They basically ditched long-time partners in the middle of the night because in their eyes college sports are about “me” not “we.”

The Big 12 responded by stealing three schools from the AAC (along with Independent BYU), Houston, Central Florida and Cincinnati. That followed Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby taking a holier-than-thou public stance when he claimed the AAC was actually trying to steal teams from his conference. How dare they!

Listening to these pompous fools claim with a straight face that college athletics are an important part of the educational mission of their institutions is so laughable it has become truly pathetic.

Big-time college sports is simply about PAAC (profit-at-all-costs). It’s all about greed, with a nice mixture of ego and WAAC (win-at-all-costs) mixed in.

College athletics can be a great thing when the influence of greed is minimized. The problems start when greed starts driving the sports policy-and-decision-making bus. Which at the FBS level of college athletics is all the time.

When the desire to make money at all costs is the only – or, at least primary motivator in college sports – completely neglecting human considerations and what’s best for the athletes and college sports as a whole — college athletics have completely lost their way. That’s where we are today, and we’ve been there for some time now. The latest round of college realignment is only the latest example.

In the early days of college athletics, playing sports was actually an extra-curricular, or co-curricular, endeavor. Today, athletic departments are stand-alone business empires. In effect, they are autonomous, for-profit entities unethically operating under the guise of the university’s non-profit umbrella. Presidents have surrendered their oversight responsibilities.

“Sport is consistently appropriated by commercial interests and we’ve lost control of the playing conditions,” says sports sociologist Jay Coakley.

Lost control indeed. Nowhere is that more true than at the college level.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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