"The Journey of a Thousand Miles . . .": Why Texas Isn't Joining the Big Ten

I haven't commented in any great depth on the rumors regarding the Big Ten's interest in adding Texas to the lineup, but Senator Blutarsky linked to an article in which the Dallas News's Chuck Carlton makes the following point:

Plus there are all other kinds of issues, ranging from the loss of traditional rivalries to vastly increased travel and missed class time. Don't scoff. Universities take those two items seriously. If you think getting to Manhattan, Kan., is a beating, try Happy Valley for Penn State. Or Corvalis, Ore., for Oregon State.

While I agree with Brian Cook that the money to be made would make travel expenses a non-issue, there are costs to travel other than financial ones. There is a certain amount of wear and tear that accompanies long road trips, which sometimes shows up in a team's next outing. Even if we make the enormous and erroneous assumption that politically powerful Texas and Texas A&M alumni in the Lone Star State would allow such a move to go through, at the probable expense of some of the Longhorns' rivalries (just as Penn State's leap to the Big Ten essentially ended the Nittany Lions' rivalry with Pitt), we should not presume that Mack Brown is foolish enough to believe that regular trips to Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will not have an impact on his players the following week.

Pac-10 expansion? Yeah, that's a realistic possibility worth discussing. Texas moving to the Big Ten? That ain't happening. The possibility of Texas moving to the Big Ten lighting a fire under the Big 12 commissioner to negotiate an SEC-style deal to have ESPN host its league-specific network? That could happen, but the 'Horns aren't headed to the Midwest. If there's one thing folks in Austin value more than bulking up the athletic association's bank account, it's increasing the integer on the left-hand side of the Longhorns' won-lost ledger. The Texas exes aren't willing to sacrifice the latter for the former, nor should they be.

Go 'Dawgs!

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