Economic Anarchy Reigns In College Sports

money, money, money

(Your soundtrack for this post)

I am enthralled by the study of economics. Always have been, most likely always will be. The subject appeals to me deeply not because everything always makes sense, because it doesn't. Not really. There are always parts of any subject that don't make sense, even if everything else around it makes perfect sense.

For me the two things that always jump out at me about the subject are simple. 1) Every classical economic theory ever postulated is based on that idea of a perfectly rational human being. In other words a person who puts his own economic interest over silly things like emotions. Such a human does not exist, or at least not in large enough quantities to base an economic theory of the world on.

2) A completely free economic market will tend not to serve the best interests of a society. There needs to be some form of constraints on the market to prevent the pooling of wealth and assets in fewer and fewer hands. Somolia used to be the perfect example of what happens to a society that has a completely free market (hint: it's not good) but you could make the case that college sports today is in the same boat.

Everyone already understands why we have all been subjected to what is going on three straight summers of endless realignment news. Only the daftest of college sports fans would assume that the tectonic shifts that have rocked college sports over, and over, and over again have anything to do with on field performance or academic reputation. The only thing that matters to the conferences and the schools is maximizing the bottom line. That is true of every school that plays sports, but the power is concentrated among ever fewer hands with each passing year.

That makes life particularly troublesome if you happen to be a fan of one of the schools without power. As I and all of you reading this most definitely are. I love UC but the forces shaping college sports, and college football in particular are beyond the influence of anyone in Clifton it just is what it is. They can (and do) work their asses off to get UC in the best possible positions. But the society of college sports, (if you want to think of it in those terms) is currently shit and getting shittier (pardon my french) because those that can, do without giving a shit about the nation wide ramifications. So if you happen to be a school that can pad the bottom line of someone's else's books you will be fine regardless. If not things get dicey.

Cincinnati is obviously in the last group but things could work out fine. Could, not necessarily will. Take it from here Dan Wolken.

But for as much as realignment has changed the landscape of college sports, one thing hasn’t changed. The Big East was the No. 6 conference before, and it will be the No. 6 conference after. The only difference is the gap between No. 6 and No. 7 has grown wider than ever.

It’s debatable whether the Big East is a nationally relevant football conference now, but by grabbing the schools it grabbed, it has made every conference beneath it irrelevant. Who knows whether that translates to huge television money, but the marketplace for college football is better than ever. The schools that brought their football programs to the Big East stand to gain significantly more visibility and television revenue than they ever could in the Mountain West or Conference USA.

As a Cincinnati fan I don't really care about realignment. If another conference made a push to include UC I would be all for it. But the simple truth is that whatever happens the University of Cincinnati will remain in more or less the same spot its been in since joining the Big East. Not living as comfortably as lets say a Mississippi State or a Kansas, but still in much better shape than the Sun Belt and the MAC schools are. I just want to process to end, even though deep down I know it will never end.

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