Superconference Realignment and the Biggest Losers
CNBC Sports Business Reporter
Let's start with the students.
An essential part of the college experience is going to games. Never missed a Northwestern home game in my four years there. But I also will never forget getting in the beat up car with a bunch of buddies and going on the road for a game.
Many of my experiences against rival Big Ten schools at their place beat the atmosphere of home games. We'd be going into hostile territory with our jerseys ready to shock them. And if we did, there was no better feeling than walking out of the stadium with a smirk on my face.
Are kids from Nebraska going to make the trip to Michigan? It's 12 hours each way. Leave Friday at 5pm get there on gameday at 5am. After a full day, then take the drive back another 12 hours?
And what do Texas A&M students do? I can see bumming it for the 8-hour each way drive to go to away games at Arkansas, but the 11-hour each way trip to Tuscaloosa to watch the Aggies play Alabama? It's 15 hours each way to Knoxville and Athens and 17 hours each way to Columbia, South Carolina. College is about road trips, but those trips are almost physically impossible. What happens if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State go to the Pac-12?
Want to try the 20-hour drive to see USC?
Kids can't afford to fly, but many parents can't either. What about those parents who counted on making short trips around the Big 12. Away games for many of them are now out of the question. The drive for money has blown up the whole idea of geographical sense.
There's a reason why conferences formed like this instead of randomly. They are convenient for rivalry and they are convenient for travel. I get the business side of it, but making it harder for your greatest fans to get to away games is one of the greatest casualties of the money grab.
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