Ever wish you wrote something, and it was published at just the wrong time?
Yep, that Big Sky column I wrote was surely a case of bad timing last week, but hey, I did cover my butt saying the Missouri Valley Football Conference could swoop in with an offer at the last minute.
And Pat Viverito and the athletic directors of the MVFC did just that to woo the University of South Dakota away from the Big Sky and back to the Midwest.
I will admit this: I do think if Montana and Montana State stay away from the lure of the WAC, the BSC would have been the better conference in terms of competition.
Don't get me wrong. I'm ecstatic that many dead bunnies and coyotes will in the near future be featured on a football field and basketball court near U, but I could care less about the renewed South Dakota State rivalry.
To me, this move had to be about the money – plain and simple.
If USD was going to bolt from the Summit League, the word was that upwards of $500,000 would've had to be paid for the contract buyout. Put that with a $250,000 buy-in to the BSC, and there's $750,000 leaving the athletic department immediately.
For a school having problems keeping coaches' salaries on a competitive level, that's quite the cost to eat, even if the conference USD was joining would be top of the line.
Plus, when you factor in the added travel costs of going west regularly for this sport or that sport, it becomes quite costly. I did agree with USD Athletic Director David Sayler when he said the school could make the travel costs work.
Heck, if Southern Utah could make the Summit League, why couldn't USD make travel in the BSC work?
But once again, it goes back to the $750,000. That is tough to swallow.
Yes, USD would make $145,000 a year in the BSC, but that means it would take over five years to recoup the $750,000 it needed to spend to get into the conference.
To put it in perspective, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln paid just more than $9 million to get out of the Big 12 Conference to head to the Big 10. Sounds like a lot of money, right? Well, in the first year of Big 10 play, Nebraska will probably make $21 million, a profit of about $12 million. In basically half a year, Nebraska will have paid back the Big 12.
Once again, it's all about the money, even though a lot of people talked about how it was all about playing the blue school that's two hours up the interstate.
Like I said, it's great that USD will be playing State again in all sports, but it's not like the two schools couldn't have settled this like real business partners and hooked up, even if both schools were in different conferences. It's been done before. Iowa and Iowa State aren't in the same conference. Utah and BYU agreed to keep its rivalry going even though both schools won't be in the same conference next year, and for those of you wondering, that's a much bigger rivalry than USD-SDSU.
In fact, there have even been cases where being in the same conference has killed a rivalry. Most Husker fans can remember a time when Oklahoma and the Cornhuskers would go head to head each year to see who was the country's best. Once the old Big 8 Conference became the Big 12 and the two schools stopped playing each other on a yearly basis, that rivalry faded with it.
Granted, USD and SDSU would face off every year, but still. It's not like being in the same conference needed to happen.
But it will happen, and even though I think the Big Sky is the better conference, I am glad USD is staying close to home in a conference that is still competitive, in terms of the MVFC and the Summit League. Not only am I looking forward to USD facing SDSU, but also North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Oral Roberts and Oakland – to name a few.
However, last week I did cringe when, after Thursday, my girlfriend mentioned I looked good in blue. I hate to break it to her, but that's a color I have to leave off my palette starting next year and replace it with more red.