College expansion 'taxes' cable subscribers
Perhaps it's a testament to the inherent dishonesty of college athletics that so much of the buzz about Big Ten expansion – Maryland on Monday, Rutgers on Tuesday – is about the hunt for the true, secret reason.
Among so many athletic administrators this makes little sense to any known paradigm – why add two debt-ridden, poorly run athletic departments with historically blah football programs? Why make the Big Ten worse today than last week? Why dilute rivalries and brand? What's the upside, that Rutgers perhaps one day reaches its potential as a good-but-not-great program?
All this … for that?
Everyone acknowledges the money but then figures this is so unnecessary and counter to commissioner Jim Delany’s conservative nature that there has to be more.
So we get that Delany must be mad at Notre Dame. Or Delany wasn't going to let ACC commissioner John Swofford – heretofore the king of bad expansion based on unlikely projections, pie-in-the sky dreams and the fear of being "left behind" – get the Irish as partial members without some retribution. Or Delany is going to retire soon and he wasn't going to let someone else be in charge of the league's legacy moves.
The reality is Delany has been very forthcoming about his reasoning, in fact, so forthcoming not many people believe him.
"Demographics," the Big Ten commissioner keeps repeating when discussing expansion.
And really, demographics it is. This isn't a mocking of Delany. It's a tip of the cap to pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, cutthroat capitalism. And this isn't a mocking of pure, unadulterated, unapologetic, cutthroat capitalism. If you can make a buck, go ahead and make it.
At least he isn't lying. This was about money. Oh, and "academics," of course.
Obviously the snub by Notre Dame, his longtime dream date, motivated Delany to do something. But in the end there were no good football programs left to go and get. So demographics it was, which means a chance to extend the Big Ten Network and maybe lure some new recruits.
In Maryland he found a university willing to walk from its longtime home because Delany could pay off its enormous credit card debt and make it enough money in the future it might be able to go to the pawn shop and buy back the men's tennis program, among other teams, it previously hawked to stay afloat.
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