I started asking the question after I heard about all the changes that could happen as early as later today. I can understand colleges changing conferences if the conference they are currently in isn’t meeting their needs, however, is this current round of changes being driven by all of a college’s athletics or just the big three (Basketball, Baseball, Football)? If Texas joins the Pac-10 (just as an example) their big three will prosper, surely, but what about softball or golf or all the other non-moneymaking sports at a college? Is the college really going to pay to ship their women’s equestrian team to play against Washington every year? Or the women’s softball team? Because if they aren’t that isn’t a proper change and not fair to the ‘poorer’ sports.
Could colleges split their athletics into ‘tiers’ and let the various tiers belong to different conferences? I could see splitting up the tiers thusly.
Tier 1: intramural.
This is who colleges let their ‘for fun’ leagues play against. Flag-football, co-rec softball and the like. This tier’s members don’t get scholarships. It is strictly ‘for fun’.
Tier 2: non-moneymaking scholarship based sports.
Now some of these sports may actually make money for the schools but most don’t. This tier contains things like tennis, golf, softball and the like. The players are strictly scholarship-ed students, and there should be equality of the sexes. Just as many scholarships for men and women.
Tier 3: The moneymakers. Basketball and Baseball.
This conference is for profit and the colleges join the one they think will make them the best bang for their buck. Question: Is there a women’s equivalent to baseball in college? Is softball it’s equivalent with regards to scholarships? This league is populated strictly with scholarshipped students (and there should be just as many scholarshipped men as women). And as such the students still cannot be paid. There are farm leagues for both sports (though not for womens softball as far as I know if it is the female equivalent of men’s baseball.)
Tier 4: Football.
This beast is just different than the other sports. There is no female equivalent sports team, and honestly I think as much money as is involved these should be semi-pro leagues. This ‘conference’ should include payed players and pay can include access to college but don’t call it scholarship, make it part of the ‘pay’. This should not count towards a college’s scholarship total. Let it go full force into what it basically already is, the NFL’s farm-league, but limit players to 4 years of eligibility(excluding redshirt) and anyone employed by the NFL as a player is ineligible.(No older players from the NFL coming back to dominate.)