Soccer drove USC and UCLA to the Huge Ten, however might (ultimately) imply large adjustments in school basketball, too

UCLA has gained 11 nationwide championships within the sport of males’s basketball. That is greater than some other program. The custom is robust. The trophy case is large. However that is not why the Huge Ten introduced Thursday that it’s going to settle for UCLA and USC as league members in 2024.

Basketball simply does not matter a lot in these issues.

The rationale the Huge Ten introduced Thursday that it’s going to settle for UCLA and USC as league members in 2024 is as a result of USC is certainly one of this nation’s greatest and greatest soccer manufacturers. That is the prize. And for those who’re taking USC, you may as effectively take UCLA as a result of you then’ll have the two greatest athletic departments within the second-biggest tv market in america. Plus, touring companions and all that.

And so right here we’re once more.

Conferences are realigning … once more. And although this has been a relentless factor for many years now, it is laborious to not really feel like what occurred Thursday represents one thing totally different as a result of it means that the Energy 5 will quickly be gone and changed by a Energy Two of a super-sized Huge Ten and a super-sized SEC.

No one thinks the Huge Ten is stopping at 16. No one thinks the SEC is stopping at 16.

Each leagues are anticipated to, within the coming weeks or months or years, get to twenty members and possibly extra. Washington and Oregon might comply with USC and UCLA to the Huge Ten. Clemson and Florida State might be part of Texas and Oklahoma within the SEC. North Carolina and Duke are wise Huge Ten candidates. Miami and Virginia Tech are cheap SEC candidates. So on and so forth.

The chances are countless.

(Sure, there are contracts to get round. However that is what attorneys are for.)

Sooner or later, most assume, someplace between 40 and 50 of the most important manufacturers in school athletics will both be within the Huge Ten or the SEC. As beforehand famous, basketball relevance may have little to do with which colleges are pursued. However that does not imply these developments will not influence basketball.

Which brings me to what I actually need to write about — the NCAA Match.

How assured are we that it will stay untouched?

CBS and Turner have a contract to broadcast the NCAA Match by way of 2032. So we needs to be cool for a decade, I assume. But when the Huge Ten and SEC are certainly super-sized leagues pushing a mixed 50 members when that contract expires, how loopy is it to suppose the SEC and Huge Ten might seize one other league or two — or not — and supply networks a postseason event that includes nothing however colleges from these leagues? Does it sound any crazier than UCLA and Rutgers being in the identical convention?

Clearly not.

I just lately requested a tv government about the opportunity of one thing like this taking place, and he roughly informed me it will most likely be extra profitable however doubtless be an inferior product as a result of, nearly everyone agrees, one of many issues that makes the NCAA Match particular is how all of the groups from all 32 leagues have entry to it. With out that, you by no means get Saint Peter’s over Kentucky. Or George Mason to the Remaining 4. Or Dunk Metropolis. Or Davidson’s Steph Curry turning into a star by bouncing by way of the bracket.

However the one factor I heard is “extra profitable.”

That scares me.

As a result of practically each determination the decision-makers have made in the case of seismic adjustments in school athletics in recent times has been motivated by cash with little regard for anything. So whereas I’ve heard many make the case that the one factor you can’t do is mess with the NCAA Match as a result of an NCAA Match with out all 32 conferences would smash what’s arguably the perfect postseason event in American sports activities, I assume my query is that this: What if messing with the NCAA Match — and by “messing with the NCAA Match” I imply mainly changing it with a huge Huge Ten/SEC Match that determines the “nationwide champion” — is extra profitable for the Huge Ten and SEC?

Would they mess with it then?

Earlier than you reply, keep in mind, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has already floated the concept of an SEC-only postseason event in soccer — and if he is keen to place ending the CFP as we all know it on the desk, I am unable to think about he is unwilling to place ending the NCAA Match as we all know it on the desk. He does not strike me because the sentimental kind. Huge Ten commissioner Kevin Warren does not both.

They’re simply cash chasers now being chased by cash chasers.

This week, it was USC and UCLA. Quickly, extra will comply with swimsuit.

Precisely the way it all shakes out is inconceivable to foretell. However nothing appears secure anymore. Not the Pac-12. Not the Huge 12. Not the ACC. Not geographical rivalries, traditions or perhaps a 68-team NCAA Match that includes entry for all that results in Peacocks upsetting Wildcats and creates underdog moments that matter.

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