From the Sidelines: NCAA doomsday scenario

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What appeared to be a sure sign of Bowl Championship Series apocalypse ultimately ended up being nothing more than a mild case of indigestion and some severe crankiness from one program that is not as great as it used to be (Nebraska) and another that was never really any good to begin with (Colorado). And then there was Texas, who in true capitalistic fashion effectively played both ends against the middle during its best Lebron James impersonation, ultimately getting the Big 12 (er…10?) to promise it the moon in order to stay. Moon promised. Texas now effectively dictates the landscape of college football.

For those keeping score at home, the Big 12 now has just 10 teams and no championship game. The Big 10 has 12 teams and, presumably, a championship game. The Pac-10 has 11 teams. Colorado is in a league in which its closest conference foe is 883 miles away in Tempe, Ariz. And Texas has more money in revenue sharing than its conference counterparts, the right to waltz into a BCS bowl game without a conference championship and the freedom to explore its own television network.

Somehow, all of that is supposed to be fair. And, somehow, it is all supposed to be about the student-athlete and the purity of sport.

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So here’s what we learned from all of it.

First off, Texas is cowardly. Intelligent. But cowardly. The Longhorns never so much as even flirted with the notion of joining the SEC. They engaged the Big 10 and the Pac-10 and the Big 12. But they wanted no part of the SEC. They will say it had to do with the fact that they did not like the notion of balanced revenue sharing. And that may hold some water. But it looks awfully shady at the end of the day.

Texas A&M is the savior of the Big 12. While Texas is driving the bus, it was A&M’s willingness to waltz to the SEC and refusal to follow its Big 12 South brethren to the Pac-10 that really halted the mass exodus. The conference as a whole owes the Aggies a big one.

Basketball is all but completely irrelevant. The Pac-10 wanted Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for their football prowess. The likes of Kansas, renowned hardcourt power, would have been left to flounder under that scenario. And no one really cared. Basketball is meaningless in the grand scheme of NCAA athletics.

The NCAA is as hypocritical as ever. In a week in which it roasted USC for “a lack of institutional control,” the NCAA proved guilty of the same capitalistic disregard.