Everyone knew that one kid when they were little. Lets call him...Charles. He was the kid who told you Santa Claus wasn't real a little too early. You wanted to be Superman when you grew up, and Charles wanted to be an accountant. Your mind was filled with lollipops and rainbows, and Charles's was filled with SAT scores and college apps. You had imagination. Charles was a realist. As much as we hated Charles, and proclaimed him as the Debby Downer, we knew in the back of our heads that he was right, he was always right.
When I think about a lot of issues in sports today, I think of Charles. I imagine us talking about something sports-related, "God Charles, can you believe this NBA labor dispute? We may not have a season next year. Stern. Hunter. The players. They're all unbelievable!"
"Scott, you realize that this is a business right?" Charles would ask.
"As much as you want to see your beloved players back out on the court, you need to see the bigger picture here. Realize that the majority of NBA teams lost money last year. Player contracts are too long, over expansion continues to dilute talent and both sides still expect more money. The system is fundamentally flawed."
While we, as fans, want to think with our emotion, tradition and passion, sometimes we need to think like Charles. We need to realize that the sports we follow vehemently are not always there to accommodate us. In the end, it is going to be about the money.
In the past couple days, there has been chaotic shuffling of our NCAA conferences as we know them. Syracuse and Pittsburgh have been accepted to the ACC, while UCONN looks to possibly do the same. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are looking to join the PAC-12. There has even been talk of a merge between the Big East and Big 12.
Our emotions tell us we should revoke change. We should cherish old rivalries and tradition. A Big 12 poll conducted by KRC Research of 1,500 college graduates showed 76 percent of fans would be disappointed by the creation of these super-conferences.
But in reality, like Charles would tell us, we need to accept that money is the driving force in college and professional sports alike. Programs are looking to make money, and will jump ship if it seems to be the best move available to them. They are not worried about old rivals and tradition; they are worried about Jacksons and Franklins. The super-conferences are inevitable. We need to embrace the new conference rivals and new traditions that come with them. We need to adapt to change and create a positive new sport atmosphere. And as much as we want to hold onto that Superman cape, and say "Screw Charles," we just need to grow up.