It was eerie watching TV during Thanksgiving weekend. It seemed as if every channel was broadcasting a worship service where screaming adherents praised their gods – the Oklahoma or Oklahoma State football team on one channel, or Michigan or Ohio State, Notre Dame or Southern Cal, etc.
These fanatics (“fans” in sports vernacular) justify entire cable channels devoted to a single university (e.g., Texas) or a league, a la the Big 10. Those fans have money and universities and advertisers want it. College sports today is all about the money.
Example: The University of Kentucky has a new $7 million privately funded dormitory to house its basketball team – along with just enough non-athletes to dodge the NCAA's ban on jock-only dorms. The facility features spacious rooms designed for 7-footers, flat-screen itinerary TVs that display individual players' schedules for practices, classes and weightlifting, and even a private chef.
Example: The New York Times recently reportedly that colleges are paying millions to football coaches who were fired for not winning fast – millions that would otherwise have been spent on scholarships, among other things.
Example: West Virginia chased the money by leaving the Big East this season for the Big 12, where it wound up on the cutting edge of mediocrity after being humiliated five weeks in a row on national TV, thus proving that those riches come at a price.
The lesson apparently was lost on Rutgers University, which will jump from the Big East to the Big 10 in 2014. Rutgers, located just 30 miles from the coastline devastated by Superstorm Sandy, admits the Big 10 will funnel millions into its coffers.
My question: What could Sandy's victims do with that kind of money?