Inside Conditions—A new day

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AUBREY BRUCE

Have any of “yinz” wondered as to why the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) would issue an invitation for the University of Pittsburgh athletic program to join the ACC?

Trust me, if it is not all about the “love” yaw’ll, could it be all about the dough?

According to Wikipedia.com, “The University’s athletic program is one of only five current NCAA Division 1-A schools to have won multiple national championships in both football and basketball, and the Panthers have been ranked as having among the best combinations of football and basketball programs by multiple publications.”

Pitt was ranked as having the fifth best combination of football and basketball programs in CBSSports.com’s Flourishing Five ranking in 2010.

In its “Hoops & Helmets” list of the best combinations, CollegeFootballNews.com ranked Pitt ninth in 2011, fifth in 2010, third in 2009, 30th in 2007, 26th in 2006, 12th in 2005, fourth in 2004, and third in 2003.

Pitt was also ranked 19th for the best combined football and basketball programs during the BCS era and among the top 25 between 1974 and 2008 by Rivals.com.

In addition, ESPN.com used the Sagarin mathematical system to rate universities based on the strength of their performance in football and men’s basketball for five years through 2006 and found Pitt was tied for 10th as one of the nation’s top two-sport schools.

Further, in a 2006 all-sports ranking done by Sports Illustrated on Campus, Pitt was ranked 17th among all of the country’s universities in terms of the overall strength of its athletic program.”

The strength of its athletic program; now that’s something to ponder, almost like in Jimmy Ponder, only you music fans will get what I mean.

Everyone always wants to hang out with the strongest guys. I can never truly remember a girl saying, “I want to go steady with the weakest guy in school.” Some of the time, young women are often attracted to the “nerds” of the crowd, but reality indicates after the midnight hour when the sparks begin flying in the boudoir, the odds of the smart guy being part of the “festivities” as opposed to him being home reading “Tolstoy” are, slim, slim, slim and none.

What I am saying, boys and girls, is that if Pitt had been higher up on the academic food chain and much lower on the athletic rankings the ACC, NBC, or ABC conferences in all likelihood would have been moving a tad slower in regards to inviting Pitt to their annual Sadie Hawkins dance, you digg?

Pitt honored each member school of the ACC by playing their fight song as they waved their school flags and walked onto the field. Also, according to a press release by the University; “Pitt Student Government board President Gordon Louderback suggested forming a Presidents council comprised of each ACC school that will meet once a year.” The first meeting took place on Monday.

Oh by the way, Pitt was a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference from 1976-82.

Wha, wha, what happened? Well, “Swami” thinks that there was not enough dough so Pitt had to go.

Pitt then went on to join the “Big Beast” oops excuse me, I really meant the Big East Conference.

Also Wikipedia.com says that “The Big East Conference was a collegiate athletics conference that consisted of as many as 16 universities in the eastern half of the United States from 1979 to 2013. In football, the Big East had all eight members play in bowl games since the 2005 realignment and had seven of eight teams ranked in the Top 25 since 2003. In that time, the Big East saw the emergence of new national players with West Virginia rising to as high as No. 1 and was ranked in the Top 10 for three-straight years (2005, 2006, 2007), South Florida rising as high as No. 2, Cincinnati and Louisville both as high as No. 3, Rutgers as high as No. 7, Pittsburgh as high as No. 9, and Connecticut as high as No. 13 in BCS standings. Also, Big East football saw an increase in attendance and enjoyed a new, $250 million plus television package that lasted through 2013.”

See folks, there was plenty of dough to spread around but obviously not enough for Pitt.

Don’t trip hear me out seriously; why would the University of Notre Dame, a school that probably has the most visibility of any NCAA Division 1-A athletic program, choose to compete in football and basketball if the Big East was some sort of “okey doke” organization?

Was it about the honey or about the money?

No, no, no, don’t get me wrong, wrong, wrong. In America chasing the “almighty dollar” is not part of the game; it is the game! Even in the fake game of “Monopoly;” “play” money is better than no money at all.” this bears repeating; Big East football saw an increase in attendance and enjoyed a new, $250 million plus television package that lasted through 2013! “

While college coaches and athletic directors often make millions of dollars per year and the NCAA reaps $11 billion for a March Madness contract, players remain essentially unpaid for their talent and effort.

National sportswriter Dave Zirin joined the panel on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show [recently] to discuss how the system, particularly that of college basketball and football, brutally takes advantage of its players by functioning under the guise of supposedly benefiting student athletes,” said Elizabeth Whitman.

Personally, it is my opinion that Pitt made a brilliant and bold fiscal decision to “bail” out of the Big Conference to join the ACC “club.” I also hope Pitt takes a moral stand and attempts to convince the fellow Presidents of their ACC member schools as well as the NCAA to take the “chastity belts” from around their pocketbooks and compensates student athletes. Will it be a new day for our children competing in college sports? We will see.

(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at; abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741)

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