As one of the curmudgeons opposed to the merger, I thought I'd post a lead to an excellent commentary in Saturday's Houston Chronicle by Jerome Solomon in which he makes clear that loyalty, history and tradition have lost much of their meaning in college sports.
His article is entitled "Selling Out Has New Meaning" and nails some of the things we've been discussing for a couple of weeks.
Like most Texans, Solomon laments the possibility that Texas and Texas A&M will, for the first time in 64 years, not be in the same conference and, for the first time in 95 years, won't be playing each other. In my eyes, the A&M/Texas rivalry may well be stronger than ours with sc. Ours is for the championship of a city; theirs is for the championship of the state.
I think Solomon nails the underlying reason that loyalty and tradition are taking a back seat to cash in an analysis as to Nebraska and Colorado have already moved and the others are about to follow:
"Problem is the hard truth is that these aren't dominoes that are falling. They are gold bricks.
College athletics have been mostly about money for some time, but at least the people who ran it used to humor us with talk of academics and tradition and loyalty and fair competition.
There really aren't athletic conferences anymore. They are production companies making television shows to sell to the networks.
Texas figures it can sell its shows for twice the money yearly ($20 million instead of $10 million) by joining the enlarged Pac-10. Bye, bye.
A&M figures it can make twice as much selling its 12 or 13 episodes through the SEC. See ya."
I like the analogy to TV production companies. When I was in Los Angeles, and running my production company, I had a quote from my favorite mentor, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, on my wall.
""The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
I think both Solomon and Thompson nail the reasons behind the merger and the impact it will have.