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Conference expansion not all good/Paul Peterson

November 9, 2011
By Paul Peterson , The Daily Mining Gazette

Depending on which side of the equation you believe, the current explosion of change in college athletic conferences is either very good or very bad.

One thing is for sure: Geography is never going to be the same when it comes to college athletics.

Take for example, the possible inclusion of Boise State into the Big East Conference.

The last time, I checked Boise State is located approximately 2,640 miles from Big East headquarters in Providence, R.I.

That's like saying that New York and Los Angeles are neighboring cities.

I can only wonder what's next in the wacky world of college sports. Maybe Hawaii will be accepted into the Southeast Conference, Alaska-Fairbanks into the Sun Belt Conference or maybe, and this a stretch, Rhode Island into the West Coast Conference.

Travel agents have to be licking their chops over the possibilities of taking care of flights for the proposed new conferences.

And to think, some people actually had their reservations when Penn State was allowed to join the Big 10 a couple of decades ago. Of course, the Big 10 now - or will have in the near future - probably about 14 schools.

Quicker than you can say Kim Kardashian got married, went on a honeymoon and filed for divorce, invitations are being extended to just about every university in the land to jump ship.

Of course, greed is the major reason for all this movement on the college scene.

The situation with former Central Collegiate and Western Collegiate Hockey Association hockey teams going over to the Big 10 in a season or two is a sterling example of that.

The Big Ten Network wanted to insert hockey on its schedule and adding Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin was an absolute must for that to happen.

The conference was even willing to grant fledgling hockey school Penn State membership in order to fill out the docket.

Of course, those moves left other schools searching for a conference to call home.

But in the case of Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State it was only natural for them to join the new CCHA.

I believe the Huskies, Wildcats and Lakers are much better off now because they'll have home-and-home series with their U.P. rivals. And those games are always going to attract more fan interest.

More than a few national writers believe all the reshuffling will have a drastic effect on the so-called "major sports" like football and basketball.

The power conferences like the Southeast Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 10 are going to dominate to the point where eventually there will be no room at all for the weak sisters of their conferences.

But such is the landscape in this brave new world of college athletics.



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