What’s that coming from Mike Slive’s mouth? Why, it’s total bullshit.
Q: Should we be worried that with realignment, conferences might be losing their cultural identity or diluting their brand?
A: I’m not sure ‘worried’ is the word I would use. In the context of changing times, change is hard. And I don’t want to speak for any particular conference and its needs, but I do think we have a responsibility to think about the game as a whole. I’ve thought that during the discussions on the BCS, that each of us brought to the table in those discussions the need to advocate for what’s in the best interest of our respective conference, but never to lose sight of the fact that in some ways we were handed the stewardship of college football. We didn’t ask for it, but it became (ours). So to that extent we have a responsibility to the game.
So in answer to your question, I hope within the context of individual conferences and their respective needs, that we can all keep the question of what’s good for college football long-term at the forefront of our thinking and act in accordance with that, as well as in accordance with our own individual needs.
Q: But has some of that already happened?
A: I can’t speak to anybody else. We’ve expanded, too, and people can be critical of the fact that some great rivalries have been lost as a result of that. So I’m speaking from being maybe one of the folks that has been criticized for that. But I still think we all have an obligation to maintain our dual responsibility.
There isn’t a single thing in college football today that doesn’t have a price tag attached to it. For Slive to act otherwise, or to pretend that the SEC is somehow righteously above the fray, even if it’s just to a degree, is utter nonsense. The only way he’ll ever care about his conference losing its cultural identity is if that turns fans off from paying as much money for his product. And by then, it’ll be too late.