Snark has its limits, though you wouldn't know it from media, both old and new. Twitter, message boards, and sports radio breed cynicism and a mockery of those they see as ripe for the picking (on). Everyone has a joke, it seems. The Big East is habitually made fun of for nothing more than trying to succeed in a world of college athletics gone amok. With news of the Mountain West-Conference USA merger, it seems this new Coast-to-Coast conference will become the new punchline. I feel for the alumni, boosters, administrators, coaches, and fans at these institutions. These decisions made at the top of totem pole affect those at the bottom and the consequences are deep and heartfelt. Many a good people enjoy the release that sports give them from the high-stress of their daily lives. We forget that far too often. And at the end of the day, it is all just a game.
Pride in one's University shouldn't be correlated with what conference said University is a part of. It should be derived from the time you spent on the campus, the people you had interaction with, and the memories you have of your time in college. And when fine institutions like the University of New Mexico, East Carolina University, and the University of Wyoming fear being further ostracized from major college athletics simply because of market size, locations, or both, it makes me take a step back and wonder if we have missed the forest for the trees. Intercollegiate athletics was supposed to bring out the best in our loyalties, not separate the wheat from the tares using a balance sheet.
Then again, I've always been romantic. Heaven knows 21st century athletics has no place for that.