Ever wonder why schools leave conferences? Jim knows.
Question: Geography, or contiguous states within the conference footprint, has been a must-have with any Big Ten expansion. Why is that so important?
Delany: “You look at those on the outside (of conferences), and things don’t always hold together. Schools on the perimeter haven’t held together. Arkansas was on the perimeter in the Southwest Conference and eventually left for the SEC. Nebraska was on the perimeter in the Big 12 (from the stronghold of state of Texas), Maryland was on the perimeter in the ACC (from the Carolinas). It’s not a coincidence that these things happened…”
Now that is a load of hooey. Delany, who went to school at North Carolina, knows damned well that Maryland was a founding member of the ACC. The Terps didn’t wake up one day, say “hey, anybody notice we’re a long way from Tobacco Road?” and decided to up and leave. Maryland’s decision to jump came as the result of Delany offering a financial lifeline to a school that had epically mismanaged its athletic affairs and was desperate for the cashola. Nor does Maryland seemed concerned about being further out on the Big Ten’s perimeter than it was from North Carolina.
Or if you’d prefer an example closer to home, Arkansas swapped being on the perimeter of the SWC to being on the perimeter of the SEC. Heard any news from Fayetteville about the school changing conference affiliations in the last twenty years? Of course not. I know it’s a long way from here to the perimeter, but from where I sit, those Hogs don’t look crazy.
Schools are jumping ship for one reason these days, and one reason only – and it’s the same reason that drives pretty much everything in college athletics right now. Perimeters are fine and dandy as long as the pay is good.