The Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Houston recently said that the Texas legislature needs to force the Big 12 Conference to add Houston to its membership. He said that the legislature should pull funding from the other Texas Big 12 schools if Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and company refuse his advances. He is quoted as saying the following:
“Be a big boy, step up and put this school that has almost 50,000 students and is so high profile, has so many of the top schools in the United States, it’s a tier one university — we belong in the Big 12. We’re a big, major school with an unbelievable history in athletics and academia.”
According to the above-linked story, Baylor used its contingent of Waco-subsidized legislators to push for their inclusion in conference realignment efforts in 2010.
In response, I’ll offer a number of common sense observations:
(1) As a human being, I have a strong distaste for Houston’s attempt to manipulate the political process and state funding to sneak into the Big 12 Conference.
(2) As a fan of a school, I kind of understand the desperation – there’s little I wouldn’t do to get my team included in a better conference.
(3) As a third-party observer, I think Houston’s chairman misses the point of realignment, altogether. Realignment has nothing to do with the number of students or your history in academia. Realignment is about butts on the bleachers, licensing, merchandising, and perception of power and prestige. In other words, money, money, money. Nothing else matters.
(4) As a University of Cincinnati loyalist, I think Houston’s athletic programs are laughably bad and lack fan support. To the extent the Big 12 Conference wants to add a media market, they do not need to attract the city of Houston. No one cheers for the University of Houston. No one shows up for their games. No one reads about their programs. Houston residents, to my knowledge, mostly pull for the Big 12 team of their choosing and go to church. Accordingly, adding Houston does little to advance the economic interests of the Big 12 Conference.
Ohio, on the other hand, pays little attention to Big 12 schools. The Midwest, and its media’s perception of or apathy toward the Big 12 Conference, likely played a large part in excluding TCU from the CFB Playoff. What does this mean?
Simple – the University of Cincinnati is the best school to add to the Big 12 Conference. I strongly urge Bob Bowlsby to consider the Bearcats for immediate inclusion in the conference. Otherwise, I’m calling John Boehner. Thanks in advance.
By Brian Fox