As we move towards the inevitable, the evolution of the super-conference in college sports, there have been plenty of rumors swirling about which conferences would survive and where the teams of the crumbling conferences would land. After seeing the Big Ten reach into the NYC and DMV markets to snag Rutgers out of the Big East and Maryland from the ACC, many college sports fans wondered who would be the next domino to fall. Inside Maryland Sports reporter Jim Ermann tweeted this earlier today:
With already 14 members on board, the Big Ten looks to have its sprinter shoes on as it eyes that 20 team super conference plateau. It looks like the University of Virginia is ready to make the bolt to a conference that will match up with its academic standards and allow them to have more leverage in national recruiting for a growing football program. Looking to tap into the heart of SEC market by having a school in the Capital of the South, Atlanta, Georgia Tech University is also under serious consideration as well, and school officials are very optimistic that at some point they too will eventually receive a bid as well, but the big fish in the conference expansion hopes is the University of North Carolina. If Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney can convince the Tar Heels to not only leave the conference it help start in 1953, but also sever ties to its in-state rivals and conference founders Wake Forrest, North Carolina State University and most importantly Duke University, this would be monumental move for the conference and would give them great leverage whenever they make that final push for 20. Spending time in North Carolina for 5 years ending the rivalry between Duke and North Carolina would be viewed as blasphemy and many felt that if either of these teams left the ACC, they would leave together. This potential bold move shows how important money and expanding viewership into as many television markets is to college sports, and that the purity of rivalries and great head to head match-up that may have historical meaning are now irrelevant.
I have to believe that there is no way that the powers that be in Chapel Hill and Durham will allow this to happen without some type of fight. There was a $50 million exit fee for Maryland so we can just imagine the types of roadblocks that will be put up to stop the exit all together (and give the conference an opportunity to gain some footing and try their own conference take over) or make it so that if North Carolina goes Duke does as well which still leaves Wake and NCSU but the fans of the popular teams would take that as collateral damage if it means they get to stay together. I do know this, if we as fans think college sports looks strange with Nebraska in the Big Ten, Texas A&M in the SEC, in 5-10 years college sports will almost be unrecognizable to those over a certain age.
If you think Coach K was upset about Maryland leaving the ACC, we can only imagine the hissy fit he will throw if UNC leaves and does it without Duke… Get your popcorn ready this is about to get real interesting!
What do you think of expansion in college sports?
How would you feel if your favorite team’s rival left to go to another conference?