By Josh Kramer
When the MLB went on strike in 1994, nobody ever thought the game would reach its once seemingly unprecedented popularity heights (little did we know at the time what heights sports could reach in terms of popularity). Fast forward to 1998, and the infamous Big Mac McGwire and Sammy “I never took steroids” Sosa pursuit of 62 home runs. The popularity returned to America’s pastime. And sure baseball is no longer thriving the way it once did, recently being leaped by both the NFL and NBA in terms of popularity, but it returned.
The NFL just experienced its longest labor strike ever. No regular season games were missed, and only one preseason game was missed. No harm no foul. The NFL’s popularity continues to soar to unimaginable heights as we head into Week 2. Currently the NCAA is in shambles. Or so it seems. Major programs on probation. Recruiting scandals. And just all out chaos. Nobody seems to know the difference between what is wrong and right. Now it appears the major college athletics conference realignment that we expected last summer is inevitable.
With the rumors swirling about Big East pillars Pittsburgh and Syracuse looking to jump ship to the ACC, the repercussions could be immense. We may be looking at the end of the Big East. In addition, we already knew that the Big 12′s future does not appear to be the brightest. I am sure many other conference changes will occur, but who really knows what will happen. It is all “he said, she said” at this point. Nothing definitive has happened. But even with the speculation, I for one am a bit ticked off. What is the need for a major conference shakeup? Is this really the right time?
The NCAA has continuously shown us time and time again over the past few years that as a governing body, it is not the best. No monetization and/or standardization of rules. Everything done on a case by case basis. Sometimes the culprits suffer, and other times the former programs of the culprits suffer. Well I for one think the NCAA needs to fix its governing issues long before this momentous conference shift occurs. But who really cares about what I say and the purity of it all, major conference realignment will mean big bucks. Or so it seems. And sadly, at its heart, the NCAA is a business.
Money is what makes the world go round, and just like everything else in the world, the NCAA needs money to continue to survive and thrive. Despite all of the recent controversy and scandal, NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball popularity are at an all-time high. There is no way to deny the current results of the finished product being put out by the NCAA. So what if they are struggling to govern the programs, the popularity is soaring and the money is rolling in. Big time college athletics is a happening spot these days, and is quite possibly the most popular sporting forum outside of the NFL (especially with the NBA appearing to already be done for the year).
It comes down to one simple truth. People like controversy. And that is a fact.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.