Historically intense rivalries are one of the great pleasures we get out of college athletics, but the recent trend of conference jumping is jeopardizing these traditional rival match-ups and many aren’t pleased with the changes.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyewski recently discussed Maryland’s decision to leave the ACC to become a member of the Big Ten, and he did not hold his tongue when describing his displeasure with the move.
“And in Maryland’s case, that’s the only conference they’ve known. And they’re right in the middle of the ACC. And now their fans, they don’t have a place. They’re outsiders. They really are outsiders. What price?”
“It’s like throwing a rock into a pond,” Coach K said. “There’s this big splash. They make a big splash, like we’re gonna make all this money, and then there’s all these ripples. And what are those ripples? Well, I don’t care about the ripples. They’re not even thinking about the ripples. They’re thinking about making that big splash. I wonder if some of this is egotism. I mean, ego and greed have something to do with it, but there’s not a big perspective here.”
“This is an assault on tradition,” Krzyzewski said. “What sets us apart from the pros? What sets us apart from the rest of the world? Intercollegiate sports is really something that only the United States has. No other country has that. And our thing is based on all the right values: loyalty, honesty, tradition. The branding that you have gotten from doing that has elevated the academic institutions that those athletic programs represent. And doing things the way we’re doing it now, based on money, I think it takes away from the academic missions and the innocence that an academic institution has.”
I agree with Coach K. I am not pleased with the conference switching myself. The whole premise is based on the instant gratification that comes with headlines and tv contracts with no regard to the longterm effects. It threatens to eliminate college rivalries that we as fans have grown to love and anticipate. I assume this trend, like most will end, but I’m concerned what long-term effects it will have on college athletics.