Pure football?

Originally posted at the Distributist Review.

West Chester, PA. With the completion of the Oregon v. Auburn national championship game last month, the ever-lengthening college bowl season came to a close. College football carries with it much of what some think of as good and endurable about our modern circumstances. Not, of course, something of ultimate consideration, but certainly something worthy of attention, where one might be a fan while not slipping into the role of the fanatic. There is purity to the game—or so it seems on the surface—with something of an amateur-status wall in place to stave off the corruptions of overly-ambitious sports-agents, professional contract squabbles, lock-outs, and the like. Even with the game being circled-in by the business of both higher education and the professional ranks, this appearance of purity or the reality of the game’s integrity is still not entirely upset.

College football’s purity has been challenged by numerous teams jumping from one conference to another; assumedly to increase both their financial and bowl-related prospects. One such example is the planned University of Nebraska move to the Big Ten, which will happen later this year. The most noble reasoning for the Cornhusker jump can be found in a piece from ESPN.com: “Osborne [Athletic Director] and Perlman [University Chancellor] both made the case that Nebraska is better aligned with the Big Ten academically, culturally and even in climate.” There is certainly truth in this statement, but it has to be weighed against the following, it too from ESPN.com:

To generations of Nebraska fans, going to the Big Ten at one time would have been unthinkable. The school’s athletic tradition is built on more than a century of football games against the likes of Missouri and Kansas, dating to the days the team was known as the Bugeaters.

The Huskers, in fact, have been conference partners with Iowa State, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kansas State since 1928; with Colorado since 1948; and with Oklahoma  State since 1960.

Now the Huskers are taking their five national titles in football, three Heisman trophies and enthusiastic fans east. They will look to start building new traditions, such as a border rivalry with the Iowa Hawkeyes and regular trips to Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State.

With such a history, it is saddening to watch Nebraska water down its attachments. (Though it should be noted that the Nebraska incorporation is certainly not as egregious as Texas Christian University entering the Big East in 2012, mind you.)

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