Last week the latest seismic change in college athletics occurred when Oregon and Washington announced their departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten beginning in 2024.
Oregon and Washington have officially been voted into the Big Ten. Here’s the ESPN breaking news report: pic.twitter.com/3JXFZlZjiz
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 4, 2023
The move means that the Big Ten will become a conference of 18 members next season as USC and UCLA, also Pac-12 schools, were already set to join the conference.
The initial, and factual, reaction to all of this is to lament the death of a previous time in college athletics and cry foul at the demise of rivalries and traditions that have lasted for nearly 100 years in some cases.
What all of these conference shifts boil down to though is two things: selfishness and money. (the latter more so than anything)
With that in mind, if the conferences and the schools themselves are going to be selfish why shouldn’t fans be selfish too?
If you are a fan or alum of a Big Ten school, and chances are if you’re reading this than you fall into one of those categories, then it’s your turn to be selfish.
Because you are the biggest winners of anybody. Your conference had the foresight and the determination to be the hunter in these conference wars and not the hunted.
They didn’t take a passive approach and sit back while other schools and conferences were the aggressors.
From the very beginning the Big Ten and its member schools realized that to sit back and allow other conference to poach their schools AND be behind the eight ball on media rights negotiations would put them in jeopardy of going extinct.
Don’t believe me? Go look at message boards or tweets from fans of Stanford, Cal, Washington State, or Oregon State. It’s sadness, despair, and fear for what the future holds.
Preferences for Stanford Football:
1 Mountain west
3 weird conference w/inevitable ACC leftovers
4 hit by a bus
5 drop football
6 watch all loved ones get hit by a bus, then I get hit by a different bus just when I think I’m getting over the trauma
7 ivy league
— Ben Muth (@FO_wordofmuth) August 4, 2023
The conference of champions is dead. We can lament all we want about the good old days of college athletics, but at the end of the day Big Ten fans should be selfish and thankful.
Here’s what the new Big Ten will look like in 2024 — spanning nearly 3,000 miles from Piscataway, NJ to Seattle, Washington: pic.twitter.com/uG78SXnN1d
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) August 7, 2023
If not for the forward thinking and aggressive approach taken by the Big Ten, we could be the ones scrambling, feeling scared, and lacking answers for what comes next.
Monday on The Fan Midday Show Adam Rittenberg of ESPN joined the show to share his thoughts on the state of college sports and where things go from here.
Listen to the full conversation with Adam Rittenberg below and don’t miss The Fan Midday Show, weekdays 12-3pm Eastern, on The Fan.
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