Last Post on Realignment*
With his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Rob thankfully pointed out earlier this week that JMU will, in fact, be taking the field for football this fall regardless of their future conference affiliation. At least for me, it was a great wake-up call. The last two summers, once the final out of the baseball season was recorded, we’ve struggled to post for May and June. In the end, we’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely with serious debates over Luigi’s vs. Gus’ and Puddleduck against everything circa 1997. And of course, we’ve spaced out posts over the summer previewing the Dukes upcoming gridiron opponents and occassionally other high-profile FCS programs.
Needless to say, this year we’ve had no trouble finding content or wading into controversial, and purely speculative, opinion pieces. And while the pageviews are nice and we’re glad our 11 readers seem to be enjoying a lively comments section, the truth is we’re both a little over all of this conference talk. JMU appears screwed for the time-being. And everytime I hear some report from some podunk paper on Twitter announcing some ridiculous, barely accredited “university” is under consideration for the CAA it makes me want to vomit (actually it makes me want to cry a little but I just didn’t want to admit that). So that said, we’re just going to bring up one more point to consider and then hopefully move on for a few weeks in the absence of new hard news about JMU’s future.
We’ve covered financial risk, media markets, travel insanity, the medium and long term college football landscape, our alternating hatred and jealously of ODU, and of course the “academic standards” email we all got from JMU’s AD Jeff Bourne. And really, “academics” is the last bastion of the true scalawag when you’ve already told your constiutency you’ve been actively looking to move to FBS.
But I got to spend last weekend hanging out with our one “insider” friend from JMU. And she got me thinking about something I really hadn’t considered in all this craziness. ODU is joining CUSA. CUSA does not even sponsor four of ODU’s current sports, including long-time ODU strongsuits Wrestling and Field Hockey. I have no idea what ODU is planning to do with their orphaned sports (drop them, ineffectively beg to keept them in the CAA, move them to some two-bit nonsense conferece like the Big South) and I really don’t care. And the truth of the matter is I probably wouldn’t care for JMU either if we were in that position. But it is kind of insane to think about that. Even when considering the MAC, there’s no doubt for some of JMU’s sports, that conference would actually be a HUGE step backwards in terms of national credibility. And that’s just for the sports they actually have. Our soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and track programs have all enjoyed very solid “high mid-major” status. So while after further consideration, I’m just not sure I can buy the academics argument, this is definitely another fly in the ointment of my best-laid FBS plans and it nearly brings us back to where we were at this time last year: Be Careful What You Wish For
*Last post on realignment – for a little while.