I often find myself making fun of sports journalists. It's definitely a shtick I have. That being said, I do want to give a tip of my cap to college football journalist Pete Thamel, who has been doing a phenomenal job reporting on the college football world in a post-coronavirus world.
Today, his article focused around the financial ramifications of coronavirus possibly forcing a conference realignment:
SOURCE-One issue being heavily discussed, especially on the Eastern seaboard, is scheduling alliances to save travel costs for non-revenue sports. Using Old Dominion as an example, it makes little sense for its baseball team to travel in Conference USA league games to play at Rice (in Houston), FIU (in South Florida) and Louisiana Tech (in Ruston). Why not James Madison, Richmond and Georgetown? They are all in different leagues, but it would make much more sense.
The same could be said for schools in the Northeast, as it makes more sense for Boston College, Rhode Island, Holy Cross and UConn to play each other in non-revenue sports than many of their far-flung geographic league peers. “You would have to get to a place where people put a lot of ego aside,” said another AD in the Group of Five. “Sports is driven more by ego than common sense.”
Conference realignment was done for football and a little bit of basketball. Football doesn't require that much travel. UConn having to go to Tulsa once a year isn't that bad, but when their women's basketball team and volleyball team have to make that travel? That makes absolutely no sense.
“Can you imagine being Conference USA or the AAC and you’re sending your baseball team to UTEP or Tulsa,” the AD said, using hypothetical geographic outliers. “It doesn’t make any sense. Much like everything, we’ve done this to ourselves. For us to not think about regional scheduling alliances is complete lunacy.”
UConn is only one example. Old Dominion was mentioned. Western Kentucky having to travel to FIU for baseball? That's how your athletic program ends up losing way too much money in a fiscal year. The economics don't make a lot of sense.
Universities should be allowed to go into one conference for football and basketball. It could even be just football or just basketball. From there, regional conferences should emerge for non-revenue sports, such as volleyball, field hockey, lacrosse, etc. Syracuse should be able to be in the ACC for football and basketball, but play volleyball in say, the Big East.