League loyalty not a factor in recruiting 

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
12:38
PM ET

Let’s face the facts and stop the foolishness. Rick Pitino is in a pickle. It’s not his fault, though. He’s only doing his job.

Sometime this week, Pitino is likely to tell a recruit he is joining the best basketball conference in the country in 2014. This after the Louisville Cardinals announced they will leave the best basketball conference in the country.

The point is it’s pointless. Pitino and other coaches’ words are just words. They have no meaning. College basketball conferences don’t matter anymore. It’s 2012, and college athletics is big business.

We have schools with good basketball programs and subpar football programs bolting for “football superconferences.” Cast aside are the long-term ramifications of culture and tradition, replaced by the short-term lure of money.

You can’t sell conferences anymore. Back in the day, you could. Now, don’t even bother.

[+] EnlargeRick Pitino and Gorgui Dieng
Debby Wong/US PresswireRick Pitino led the Louisville Cardinals to a Big East tournament title in March. In 2014, his team will leave the Big East for the ACC.
Raise your hand if you know definitively the new conference allegiances? We ask our coaches to take NCAA compliance tests. How many of them could redistrict the country perfectly?

If following realignment is difficult for the insiders, imagine what a 17-year-old kid with hobbies, a social life and other interests thinks of this whole thing. The Big East will welcome two football schools from the Mountain West in 2013. Say that out loud. Better yet, explain that to a 17-year-old while he’s getting constant text messages from his girlfriend.

We aren’t raising a generation of ACC or Big East fans. We’re raising a generation of players who will grow up with less conference affiliation and more loyalty to specific programs.

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