PSR ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. Introducing the Pittsburgh Sports Report eMagazine. Click to read and watch the best sports coverage in the region.
Sunday February 1 2015
Leave this field empty.

No End in Sight

PSR Logo
The notion that the NCAA is an organization concerned with the business of higher learning… OK, you got me, I can’t go any farther. I have done some research and… again, you got me.

I have simply used common sense and I’ve come to the conclusion that the NCAA is interested in one thing and one thing alone: Benjamin Franklin.

Not the diplomat, the one hundred dollar bill, with total disregard of the looming fiscal cliff. It is hard for me, a guy with a Communication degree, to buy anything but the obvious. To quote P-Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Puffy Combs, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

Conference realignment is clearly about academics, right? If you if think that’s true, there are multiple bridges in Brooklyn for sale. Who’s kidding who here?

Old school Big East fans are all kinds of hot and bothered with the Catholic schools looking out for their own basketball interest. Who could blame them, they have been getting run over for football since the ACC pillaged the conference for Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami.

Football schools are aligning themselves with one another for the biggest payoff, but when basketball schools, like the disgruntled Catholic Big East schools do it, critics make jokes. The irony is, these seven schools will likely get the last laugh.

Contrary to popular belief, the NCAA isn’t entirely clueless. The seven schools are Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Villanova, St. John’s, Providence, and Seton Hall, which all coincidently are located in very large metropolitan media markets. The Big Ten expansion is based around market size: Philadelphia, New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago aren’t exactly small potatoes and the NCAA will do all they can to join the party. After all it’s a giant money grab for all those involved.

Granted, the seven schools won’t be able to make it on their own, but they will certainly draw interest from schools like Xavier and Butler. Add those two, and the Big Ten just got company as the best hoops conference in the country.

As for the NCAA, they will be all over these historically great basketball programs. March Madness wouldn’t be the same without them. Long story short, the NCAA sees this as another new revenue source. 
   
It will be very interesting to see what the big wigs at Fox, ESPN or CBS would pay for just those seven schools. Notre Dame set a new precedent, joining the ACC for all sports with a partial football membership. Having just a basketball conference is intriguing element, perhaps adding schools where football is essentially an afterthought. Duke, Kansas and Kentucky come to mind.

Sure the Big 12 and SEC football TV deals are huge, but operating a perennial loser has to be more expensive. The era of full membership conferences has to be winding down, realistically it isn’t sustainable.

Keep in mind the Maryland administrators were honest. Finances were the primary reason behind their departure of the ACC for the Big Ten.

Many hate what the Big Ten has done, but perhaps it’s just a glimpse into the future. Possibly each and every conference will have their own television networks. Maybe places like Madison Square Garden will host double and triple headers more frequently.  And the end result is selling the product, adding larger corporate partners, and building a larger more profitable brand.

This may seem far-fetched, but the numbers don’t lie and the TV executives aren’t exactly concerned with women’s softball. Maybe the best example of an existing model would be Division 1 hockey; it’s the only sport that holds the conferences and tournament intact.

Suddenly a pay per view college sporting event seems like a real possibility and the fans will pay.

Conference realignment is both sad and exciting, losing great events like the “Backyard Brawl,” while molding a new landscape and revenue streams for the institutions themselves. Made for TV match ups will be on every weekend.

The changes, mergers, and jointures are far from over, with no end in sight. It is only a matter of time before football and basketball only conferences. In the meantime, institutions are just trying to ensure sustainability for both the long and the short term.

Share
The only surprising thing about Pitt’s ouster of Steve Pederson as athletic director is the fact that it’s seen as a surprise.
Editor's DeskFeature OnePitt Football
The Steelers 2014 draft was a hit or miss proposition after one year in the books: one big hit, a few solid performances with more potential heading into year two, and several swings and misses.
Feature TwoPure Steel
In an NFL season with no truly dominant teams, there were nonetheless several dominant performances from some very special players. Here's a nod to those players and coaches who stood out above the rest.
Feature ThreePure Steel
Pitt introduced Pat Narduzzi as their new head football coach last month. The former Michigan State defensive coordinator replaces Paul Chryst, who left for Wisconsin at the conclusion of the Panthers season.
Feature FourPitt Football
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Steelers TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3College Sports TV Channel
While the Pirates National League Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, made major waves this offseason, Pittsburgh was busy making some under-the-radar additions to their roster.
Custom 1North Shore Notes
While Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has been known to make major moves during spring training or even in April, the Pirates 2015 line-up appears to relatively set.
Custom 2North Shore Notes
Being a baseball fan requires a great deal of patience. The 162-game slog of a season is comprised of tens of thousands of individual moments.
Custom 3North Shore Notes
When the Pirates re-signed A.J. Burnett this off-season, many fans and media questioned why they would bring in the 2014 league leader in losses.
Custom 4North Shore Notes