I have developed an aversion to most professional sports. I can't participate in the charade anymore. Boxing was the last one to go, but I got to the point where I could convince myself that reading about the results afterwards was almost as satisfying as watching it live it on TV. I admit, I had to use the same kind of self-deception I practice when I am trying to talk myself out of eating another Milk Dud, that the sugar rush only lasts for a second. Once, I convince myself of the validity of that argument, it becomes a lot easier to forgo the candy.
Last March, during the College basketball finals, something happened that pushed me over the edge. During the telecasts, they allowed the reporters to ask the coaches a question during the timeouts. I've been a basketball coach for almost forty years. Seeing this play-out on TV was, in my opinion, the equivalent of some reporter interrupting a brain surgeon while he was operating on a patient. I know that's a silly allegory, but having a dumbass reporter ask a coach a stupid question at such a time is pretty damn silly too.
I've also been a human being for almost 71 years and a big sport's fan for most of that time. I've watched as Professional Sports evolved from being organizations at least somewhat concerned with the well-being of their fan bases into major corporation entities concerned with squeezing as much money as possible out of a gullible citizenry to the point where even their charitable aspects are based on how it affects their branding and not on genuine empathy. I think that the greed has become so entrenched in professional sports that the stars on the NFL logo should be replaced with dollar signs and the NBA logo with Jerry West should be replaced by the silhouette of David Stern holding a fan up by his ankles and shaking every last dime out of the fan's pocket.
I used to be able to turn to college sports for sanctuary though. Now, that's no longer true. Indeed, the failure of the colleges to defend the last bastion of amateurism has been even more sinister and marked by greed and corruption if anything. Sport fans always relied on the colleges to protect the innocence of athletics from the pimps, the panderers and corporate hucksters who would sell their own mothers for a bigger piece of the pie or the money to upgrade their Porsches into Lamborghinis.
It's always been a challenge, but at least they tried sometimes. That all changed during the NIL and Transfer Protocol arguments. The courts ruled college amateurism dead and the admins reasoned they could no longer support it. Well, they could have, They surely could have made principled stand for it, but the money required would have had to have come from their end of the skim, and they sure seemed a more than a little concerned with the protecting of their own cut than the prospects of turning amateurism into a prostitution ring. You would think that people who ran the universities would have read Dante at some point in their life and understood why he assigned the pimps, panderers, and con-men an eternity of being buried up to their necks in frozen firmament of the 9th Circle of Hell.
What they have unwittingly done is helped turned our prestigious universities from institutions committed to higher learning into sports-entertainment factories, more committed to TV ratings and "Woke" politics than the teaching of genuine truth.
I personally believe all of the administrators who have participated in the destruction of the traditional conference alignments because of their insatiable thirst for TV money should be forced out of their offices and kicked out into the streets. They should count themselves lucky that we don't live in the times when people were prone to pour molten gold down the throats of the government administrators who betrayed the public trust in favor of accumulating wealth. The idea that you must cast aside traditional relationships and decades old rivalries because it costs more to run a program nowadays and you need ever more and more money to compete on a national level, doesn't work either, so save your dumbass breath. You don't have to go backwards either. Just take a pause, reexamine your values and you will begin to notice that there's other paths forward than working for ESPN.
I would advise the four schools left behind in the Pac-Four from the departure of the SEC wannabes, to swallow their pride, merge into the Mountain West and do the following:
1) Lower your ticket prices. We are living in tough economic times.
2) Quit begging for money. See what it's like to make do with what you have for a while. Everyone in this country is hurting. Quit acting like you're entitled, or a victim.
3) Get rid of all TV time-outs. You have the upper hand. You have the content! Quit acting like it's otherwise. Rename all the bowl games to something less stupid, and let the advertising adjust itself to the game and not vice versa.
4) Market yourself as being the Anti-Corporate Greed Conference. This is the same thing I would advise the WNBA to do. Quit whining about the fact that more people watch the NBA. Concentrate on making your brand more attractive. People are sick and tired of having other people's opinions forced down their throats and then having to watch overpaid (Not even an argument) athletes whine about how bad they have it. Make yourself into the better, more viable option.
5) Recruit kids that value loyalty. This mean you have to be loyal too. Create more campus jobs and opportunities for athletes to earn money for things like airplane tickets home. If the recruits want to whine about having to work, then send them to the SEC and Big 20. Non-athletes have to work for an education and most are not getting their schooling and room and board paid for like athletes. Look for kids who are grateful for the opportunities you offer.
6) No more NIL deals. This means the school can’t sell their image either. They are athletes not influencers or models. If the athletes want to sell their image, tell them to go pro or create an Only Fans account.
7.) Treat scholarships as contracts that both parties must honor for the full term.
I can't believe how twisted things have gotten in such a short time. I used to have a Pentecostal neighbor who wouldn't watch TV because he said it was evil. I laughed at him back then. I don't laugh at that attitude any more. TV has proven time and time again that it is about the selling of stuff pure and simple. The days when there was a balance between presenting entertainment and watching commercials is long gone. And it's ubiquitous and spreading like a cancer. Remember when you didn't have to watch commercials if you paid to see a movie? I once looked for YouTube video of Dr. Kings I Have a Dream speech to show my kids in class. There was Ad about two minutes in that interrupted the speech to sell something like sleeping aids. If they could sell commercials in our dreams, they would have already done it.
College admins should never have to be reminded that they should be more like the Woodsman who rescued Red Riding Hood from the Big Bad Wolf and not like the Big Bad Wolf. The modern version of the story has the Woodsman looking down at Red and saying, "Damn, this bitch looks hot," and then holding her down while the wolf goes first. It's time for our leaders, especially those in our colleges, to start doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do and not justifying evil because the television money is so good.