What if the SEC built a league….and nobody came? Part 1

Texas and Oklahoma are going to the SEC! "Aaaaaaack!" as Bill the Cat might say.

Or, maybe not.

So, commissioner Greg Sankey is building a super/mega/all-mighty conference in the SEC. Well, by golly, we – as in every other conference – need to respond! Somebody needs to raid the AAC….or the Big XII….or the PAC 12! Or we need to merge conferences or create mutually friendly scheduling agreements or…..good God, we need to do SOMETHING!

Or, maybe not.

Full disclosure: I graduated from Rutgers in the last century. Before the Vietnam War ended. Yeah, Bob is old and, on occasion, I may have thoughts and ideas that reflect that level of maturity and "sophistication".

Once upon a time, my Rutgers friends and I haughtily puffed our chests out and proudly talked about the academic integrity that Rutgers athletics not only professed but acted on. We had "student athletes", kids who came to Rutgers for the schooling, not the opportunity to play in the NFL or NBA or anywhere else. To a lot of kids at Rutgers, the SEC was the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I can remember a running back for Rutgers, Bruce Van Ness, who eventually went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the wonderfully named Montreal Alouettes. He made the Shriners North-South All Star squad in 1969, my freshman year (told you I was old!) In that contest, he was named one of two most valuable players. And when they interviewed the two MVP players, Clovis Swinney from Arkansas State said he was heading home to prepare for the NFL Draft. Van Ness said he was heading home to get ready for final exams. Ah, yes, the good old days.

Let’s be haughty and self-righteous again. Raise your hand if you think of superior academic institutions when you think of the Southeastern Conference. Anyone? Come on! Yes, there’s Vanderbilt. But any others? Well, in the interest of being fair, there are now four – soon to be five - schools in the SEC that are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the group that the Big Ten – at least for now – requires you to be a part of in order to be in the conference. Who are those southern bastions of academia? Florida, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Texas A & M, and Texas. And the last three were add-ons in the last decade or so through conference realignment. So no, no one is confusing the SEC with the Ivy League. Or the Big Ten (13 of 14 in AAU). Or the Pac 12 (9 of 12). You catching my drift here?

Which brings me to my headline. The SEC is building this mega-conference wrapped around the one thing that will absolutely cause a southerner to miss a family wedding: an SEC football game. While Texas has a great tradition in baseball and Oklahoma is the home of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, that ain’t what’s driving this build out. Hey, with the addition of Oklahoma, the SEC will have exactly ONE school with a D1 wrestling program.

Of course, this is about football and what the two new schools can bring to the SEC money-room counting tables. And, it’s probably gonna be a lot. But, and bear with my thinking here, is it too much?

Have we jumped the shark in college sports? Has it become just too much money and not enough of the pomp and pageantry of college football? I have too much time on my hands and more than a few thoughts to share, too many and too much info to include in just one post. So, there will be more. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk more about that.

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