It's lunacy, and I can't take it anymore
- Kerry Eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Lunacy all around us in the world of sports.
It's driving me crazy.
What, I'm already there, you say?
Conceded. But what passes as logic these days pushes me over the edge.
On Tuesday came reports of negotiations for a purported 'Super Conference' of 28 to 32 teams that would link the surviving members of the Big East with the Mountain West and Conference USA.
From the Big East's perspective, the idea was simple. With recent defections and threatened defections from member schools dropping to only five the number that play football, an automatic BCS bid is in danger of slipping away. Merging enhances the chances of status quo.
From the perspective of the Mountain West and Conference USA, it's staying ahead of the Joneses.
'The last thing we should be doing is sitting back and seeing what might happen next,' Nevada-Las Vegas athletic director Jim Livengood told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 'This is a time to be aggressive. The merger gives us a fighting chance, and if (adding the Big East) means automatic BCS qualification, this is a no-brainer.'
That was the news Tuesday. Then we learn that Big East officials cancelled a scheduled meeting Wednesday in New York with reps of the Mountain West and Conference USA. With no immediate plans for rescheduling.
So we're left with the likelihood of the Mountain West and Conference USA hooking up, just the two of them. Shades of the old 16-team Western Athletic Conference, as unseemly an aggregate of universities as college sports has seen.
But let's get back to the 'no-brainer' comment by Livengood.
It's a no-brainer to clump together 28 of 32 schools located geographically from Hawaii to South Florida, with too many points in-between to mention?
So you have four seven- or eight-team divisions set up geographically. And you play all the teams in your division, then have a four-team, three-game conference playoff at the end of the regular season?
Sorry, but that's like having four different leagues in my book.
All for the facade of a conference to earn an automatic BCS bid.
I already miss the round-robin schedule of the Pac-10, which produced a true conference champion. I know the other major conferences don't do it, and that they are playing only eight league games a year instead of the nine the Pac-12 do. And that probably hurts the Pac-12 schools in the BCS national championship running, because their schedule becomes more difficult.
I don't care.
Even in a down year like this one, the Pac-12's reputation is second to none when all sports are involved and second only to the SEC in terms of football prestige. Oregon played in the national championship game last season, and Stanford is in great position to get there this year. Nobody is suffering very much.
At the Oregon-California game, by the way, Commissioner Larry Scott told me Pac-12 expansion isn't going to happen.
'Very, very unlikely to happen any time soon,' I believe is the way he phrased it.
I loved hearing that. But I also know things can change as situations change, and as $$$$$ get tossed about like knives at a cutlery convention.
All the scrambling by schools to switch conferences, by the way, has my head spinning into vertigo.
Missouri is off to the Southeastern Conference, and West Virginia will likely fill the Tigers' spot in the Big 12, where its shortest trip will be 870 miles to Iowa State.
I know joining the strongest conference possible is at a premium. But I'd also like to think there is some semblance of geographic responsibility being considered. After all, travel is a major part of sporting endeavors, both by participants and by their fans.
I wouldn't want to be a West Virginia athlete having to make all those long trips, and I certainly wouldn't want to be a supporter with zero short football trips to make each season.
Then there is the long-running negotiations for an NBA collective-bargaining agreement, which may finally be coming to a head.
But not because of players such as Derrick Rose, who simply don't get it.
Rose is still being paid - underpaid, I agree - off a four-year, $22.5-million rookie contract. The rookie pay scale was introduced in the last CBA back in 1999. He wishes it would go away in a new deal.
'Back in the day, they were giving guys coming out of college multi-million dollar contracts,' Rose said in a Wednesday interview. 'So why stop it now? The game is growing. There's no need to stop it.'
Boy, does this guy miss the point.
There's an absolute need to stop it.
The players who have proved themselves on an NBA court ought to be making the big money.
And by the way, Rose will more than make up for the lowball figure he's making now on his next contract.
I can't take it anymore.
Maybe it's me who's the lunatic.
In sports these days, though, seems like I have plenty of company.