SEC Expansion: This isn’t Monopoly! It is Risk!

Playing Risk: The Ukraine, errr The Big East is weak!

Playing Risk: The Ukraine, errr The Big East is weak!

NCAA President Mark Emmert urged caution during the latest round of conference expansion drama.

“This is not about playing Monopoly and moving pieces around on the board,” the NCAA president said of the latest round of conference-hopping in a USA Today report.

He is right.

This isn’t Monpoly.

This is Risk. The old board game where you place armies, invade neighbors and dominate the world.

It is strategic.

It is Machiavellian.

Just like the ACC was Machiavellian in its raid of the Big East the first time.

Just like the ACC was Machiavellian with its Saturday morning raid of the Big East this time.

How Machivellian can be seen in this nugget of information from CBS writer Dennis Dodd’s Sunday column. Dodd wrote, “A few weeks ago, ACC commissioner John Swofford, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and Big East commissioner John Marinatto made some sort of pinky swear and promised not to raid each other going forward. They were going to work to stabilize their own conferences without wrecking the other.”

Any Italian Renaissance prince would approve of such duplicity. Swofford and his league should be proud. They have introduced to college athletics a level of political maneuvering unseen this side of Florence.

Swofford recognized something—The Ukraine is weak, err The Big East is weak. Why not carve it up? Take the best portions and leave the remnants in disarray? It makes good sense. You would do the same thing in a game of Risk. You want to secure your position—drive your competitor out of Western Europe, or Texas or wherever the latest game of Risk is being played.

The addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh shores up the ACC in multiple sports. They are good schools with good programs. You can’t blame these schools for moving, and you really can’t blame the ACC for letting the schools join the conference.

However, the duplicity gives one pause.

But, conference realignment continues at a brisk pace. The Austin newspaper reported that Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech were near a deal with the Pac-12.

Another point of interest is an article. It reported something I’ve mentioned many times in the last year. Demographics are driving expansion, and the Big Ten is in jeopardy of getting pinned into a dying region in locations with a serious population problem. Meanwhile, the future demographics show growth in the South.

Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds understands this. The website reported, “DeLoss Dodds has told people who matter that Texas does not want to go independent and does not want to go to the Big Ten. Dodds has said the growth in the United States is south, and the Big Ten is not in the south.”

Get the obituary ready for the Big 12.

And get ready to carve up the remnants.

Will the SEC take more than Texas A&M? Missouri sits in a good position in large markets.

Speculation also centers on West Virginia. WVU could be in play as the Big East is wounded from the latest ACC raid.

West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck released a statement today on the issue of conference expansion. “There is no question that the landscape of college athletics is once again changing,” Luck said. “West Virginia University has great tradition as the state’s flagship land-grant institution, and we will continue working to do what’s best for our University and its athletic teams. No matter how the college athletic landscape changes, there is no doubt WVU is and will remain a national player.”

National player?

Interesting. It sounds like WVU has big plans. Does that mean WVU is seeking entry into the SEC? Would this be team number 14? Or 15?

What is Mike Slive thinking? What is his next move?

This isn’t a game of Monopoly. It is Risk. Will the SEC invade the weak Ukraine, err, The Big East too?