By now, we all get it. Everything in college sports is about football.
Leagues splinter, expand, contract and disintegrate based on what appears to make financial sense for their football members.
What stinks as much as anything in all of this, is the realization of how little the other major college sport, basketball, matters.
Albion has as almost much pull as Kansas. Heck, the Britons play better football.
For those of us who are college hoops junkies and enjoy its tradition, it’s disheartening.
If the Big Ten basketball regular season championship loses its luster as the league expands, eventually to 16 teams, something significant has been lost. And the conference title — likely awarded through the Big Ten tournament — will never again mean as much.
The salvation of college basketball, in my opinion, is in the hands of the schools that either don’t play football or don’t play it at the BCS level. That would be many of the teams in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences, for example.
So today’s news that the Big East’s seven Catholic and non-football schools might join the 16-team A-10 to form a 21-team league (Temple and Charlotte are leaving the A-10) sounds like a promising step toward a better hoops world.
I’ve thought for years that there ought to be a religious school league or possibly two of them:
DePaul, Xavier, Dayton, Marquette, St. Louis, Duquesne, Notre Dame, Valparaiso (Lutheran) and Butler (though no longer any religious affiliation) in one.
St. John’s, Georgetown, St. Joseph’s, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, La Salle, St. Bonaventure, Fordham and perhaps Davidson (if the Presbyterians are welcome) in another.
They’d be a solid basketball league — or leagues — with sound geographic principle and programs steeped in tradition.
And, instead of BCS money, they’d be chasing NCAA tournament shares, which is still where the real money is for the majority of Division I college athletic programs in this country.
Such a vision is idealistic in a college athletics landscape that crushes idealism. But if the A-10 becomes a basketball power, there will be at least one good league that thinks hoops-first.