Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Things that make you go "hmm..."

In today's "things that make you go 'hmm...'" department, we have the topic of conference realignment--the news item which has been dominating sports pages and radio talk shows for the past several weeks.

So, our "things that make you go 'hmm...'"

- Have you heard the term "student athlete" used in any of the discussions? Aren't they the ones playing the sports which will be affected by conference affiliations?

- Out of close to 500 players on rosters of Texas schools in the Big 12, over 400 are from the state of Texas. With dissolution of the conference, those players will end up playing the majority of their games in front of fans outside of the state of Texas.

- Why is it that arguments like "more travel days" and "too much time away from class" are used as reasons why there isn't a national championship "tournament" in college football, yet you never hear those concerns voiced about conference alignments where University of Kansas players might travel to Syracuse, N.Y. (if the Jayhawks end up in the Big East) or Missouri footballers would journey to Gainesville, FL (if MU would end up in the SEC?) Geographic proximity, with current conference alignments, does reduce travel...right?

- Did I miss the phone call or mail survey asking my opinion on the matter? After all, I have been a season ticketholder at Kansas for a long, long time and contribute to the University's Williams Educational Fund. Just like the above point on student athletes, I've noticed little acknowledgment about the role of the fans.

- Does tradition matter? If Kansas and Missouri go to separate conferences, the oldest rivalry west of the Mississippi will likely end. The oldest continuous football series (Kansas-Nebraska) in the west has already been stopped with NU's departure to the Big Ten.

- And finally, it's long been said that "sports are the front porch of the University." No where is that more true than at Kansas State, who saw interest in the school and resulting enrollment increase once the Wildcats achieved success in football and became more of a national brand. If KSU does not end up in a BCS conference--a distinct possibility--then the resulting enrollment, and giving, will decline. There has been little public acknowledgment, by those making the comments, about the impact of conference realignment beyond what happens in the stadiums and arenas across the country.

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