The NCAA wrap-up

So much news on the NCAA front, that I have decided to try and condense all of it into a single post.  Where to start?

Yesterday, it was announced that the Big 12 was on the verge of accepting West Virginia University (WVU) into their conference.  Then we wake up this morning, and Louisville, who is currently in the Big East with WVU, has made a quick play overnight and is now being said to be just as strong a candidate to get the Big 12 invite.  The New York Times’ sources says its a 50-50 thing, either school could be the one to be picked.

In a post earlier this month I discussed Missouri as being the domino which makes everything fall in the conference realignment game (actually the New York Times said that).  Well, Mizzou voted last week to look around and have the option of leaving the Big 12.  They have yet to make any decision or announcement, but many think that it is only a matter of time before they leave.  Most likely they are headed to the SEC, but there is thought that Mizzou might be trying to through their weight around in get some games in Kansas City, such as a premier football or basketball match-up which could mean more revenue for all schools involved.

So the conference realignment dance/soap opera looks to be on the verge of having some dramatic twists.  Stay tuned, as we will try to update regularly as to how it all plays out, and the economic and financial implications of all the moves.  To be honest, it is no surprise everyone is running from the Big East, as that conference seems to be slowly falling apart.

While all of this is going on, the pay-for-play debate for college student-athletes is raging strong.  The NCAA was considering the potential of increasing the stipends that players could receive.  NCAA President Mark Emmert told the Knight Commission that he would like conferences to have the ability to increase stipends by $2,000 per student-athlete.  Of course the big issue here is that only some schools can afford to give the extra stipend, and those are of course the schools who have stronger programs and more revenue.  This of course could lead to the best athletes going to these schools, and cause a situation with the rich getting richer in terms of both talent and revenue, and lead to an increase in competitive imbalance in NCAA sports.

The student-athletes don’t like the idea of $2,000, they think that $3,200 is more along the lines of what an increase should be if schools really are going to cover the true cost of living and going to school.  300 men’s basketball and football student-athletes from five major schools have already signed a petition asking for exactly that.  They want a bigger cut of money, basically asking that the increases in television revenue be passed down to the student-athlete.  This would of course mean a bigger bill for schools, and potentially more schools in the red.  I personally don’t think the petition will do much, but it does send a strong signal to the NCAA that something needs to be done.

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