The Business Of College Sports Continues Apace

The game of musical chairs continues.

It appears the American Athletic Conference is on the cusp of adding big time college and university sports programs to its roster just weeks after losing the University of Central Florida, the University of Cincinnati and Houston University to the Big 12 Conference. The Big 12 is adding those schools to replace the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas which went to the Southeastern Conference. CBS Sports reported the AAC was looking at five schools, Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State, and the University of Alabama Birmingham. There seems to be some sort of timetable for the AAC to add schools and it appears the group wants to get its business straightened out soon. There are television and marketing considerations and money is at stake.

The AAC plans to stay in business and that means raiding other conferences to get new partners. But there are other conferences such as the Sun Belt or Conference USA that might have their eyes on adding colleges and universities to their mix. There is also a possibility that the Big 12 might not stop at raiding three AAC schools. After all, there is plenty of precedent in college sports for that. At the end of the day, whatever happens to the Big 12, AAC, the Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, they are all chasing TV money because that is what big-time college sports is all about. Collecting big dollar amounts from TV and TV will let school presidents, chancellors and boards of trustees know whether their plan works or not. The Big East, the AAC’s predecessor, lost Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville. But East Carolina, Tulane, and Tulsa jumped at the chance to join the AAC. The Big East became a basketball-only conference. College sports is all about loyalty to dollars and cents.

FILE – In this Aug. 4, 2015, file photo, American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco (AP Photo/Stew Milne, File)

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