Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's Football Season: The Beginning of the Obligatory "Vanderbilt Should Not Be In The SEC" Stories

So for the past 10 days or so I've woken up pretty much in Groundhog's Day. Much like Bill Murray arising to yet another day of depression, unable to move forward with his life until he learns to appreciate it and face it, I arose this morning with the impending anvil of the South Carolina Bar Exam hanging over my head. But, as per my usual routine, I take the morning to peruse the various news outlets and see what's going on in the world of sports. As many of you no doubt have already seen, this article made its way into the Tennessean, courtesy of Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

Unfortunately for Mike, I am in one of the worst moods imaginable since I've spent over a hundred hours studying this summer and I still don't feel 100% prepared for this stupid exam. So if this gets somewhat "uncouth", you'll have to forgive me.

I could rehash old arguments here about how Vandy upholds the academic integrity of the SEC and how it competes in other sports just fine (by the way, the last time UCF made the NCAA tournament was 2004-2005, and they've only made it four times total, never getting past the first round and never being seeded higher than 14). That's actually quite true on both counts. As to the first point, I'm not saying that Florida, or Georgia, or any other SEC school is a bad school, far from it. I'm just saying that their football programs are completely separate business entities and the right arm, the football side, doesn't really care about the left unless newspapers broadcast it. So this isn't a knock on anyone's personal education because you got a great one and it's what you make of it, but college football is a crap system that completely defaces the concept of an academically-driven university in the name of money.

It would be an overly broad generalization to say that all coaches don't care about the academic progress of their kids, so I won't make that kind of statement. But it is fair to say that many coaches don't care about the academic progress of their kids, because it's certainly more than a few. The problem is a major issue in college football just as it is in basketball, but it's simply more diluted because football has more players. I'm not saying that every athlete has to be a rocket scientist, but I am saying that programs have to hold their kids accountable for their academics, because they are, after all, a part of a school. On this topic I could go for hours, but it would be tangential to the point I was about to make.

Oh yeah, Mr. Bianchi's Opus....the novel idea of removing Vanderbilt from the SEC.

Note to Mr. Bianchi: barring some sort of catastrophic destruction of the SEC, Vanderbilt....isn't....going....anywhere. At least not involuntarily. Why? Because as a charter member of the conference, once you're in, YOU'RE IN. You can whine and cry about being "an upcoming football school in a big media market" and about our presence in the SEC as being "un-American" all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that barring SEC expansion you will be sitting on the outside looking in. This is what we call a MOOT POINT. In addition, based off the almost seismic shift of this offseason's conference realignments, there wasn't even a PEEP of discussion about UCF becoming an SEC school. Why? Because why the heck would we want UCF when we have the whole Orlando market anyway with Florida? THAT'S why.

And now I begin my rant: Journalists like this are the exact reason why the University system is perverted in the manner it is. How we got to a point where the media basically tells people that the only thing that matters is the potential money a school can bring in for football when determining conference affiliation is absolutely beyond me. Never mind history and tradition, which Bianchi basically dismisses as Vanderbilt being in the right place at the right time, and never mind the previously mentioned competitiveness of our other programs, we don't deserve a slice of the SEC pie because our football team is fighting an uphill battle. Fortunately for our Oliver Twist "please sir I'd like some more selves", the presidents of the Universities in the SEC like being able to point to Vanderbilt as the academic school that it is. It makes the rest of the conference still look like a group of SCHOOLS and not a group of MINOR LEAGUE FOOTBALL TEAMS. If you think the conference academic profile isn't a major reason why you don't hear anyone but media types crying about Vanderbilt being in the SEC, you've got your head in the sand. Let's just say that at the next meeting of SEC big wigs I think some presidents would be uncomfortable with replacing this for this simply because they can attain a few dollars more in the Orlando market than they already have because of a much better football school (a.k.a. Florida). It's a lot more enticing to bring Texas A&M, who happens to be a Top 75 University AND bring in Texas dollars. Same with Virginia Tech,Clemson, and Florida State; all top 150 schools. It makes the conference APPEAR to legitimately care without actually throwing in the towel and saying "yeah we only care about football money."

To summarize very clearly for Mr. Bianchi: 1) Vanderbilt isn't going anywhere because a) we're a charter member, and b) the SEC likes having an academic school in it. 2) UCF is not getting in the SEC unless there is conference realignment. 3) In order to get in to the biggest money drawing conference in the country you need to bring a) additional dollars and b) at least a smidgeon of academic cache. 4) UCF can do neither because everyone is tuned in to watch Florida on Saturdays anyway and because they are a Tier 3 university. Therefore 5) shut your pie hole about Vanderbilt not belonging in the SEC, because it deserves to be there a hell of a lot more than UCF. And, in closing, 6) try to maintain some semblance of journalistic integrity, because the fact that you just compared Vanderbilt staying in the SEC to African-Americans remaining sitting in the back of the bus if there were no civil rights movement is offensive and insulting. Furthermore, it's completely disgraceful to dismiss a legitimate point by our coach that we think guys can be students and athletes simply because he stated he worked for the insemination group on a turkey farm.

End rant, time for UCC.


Bobby O'Shea said...


Stanimal brings the hammer hard on what is truly an idiotic column.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Mikey Bee-otch?

I never heard of him.

Kyle said...

One of my favorite VSL posts ever. Thanks, Stanimal

Vendidad said...

I wish I could type out a guttural umph. You deserve it.

Stanimal said...

I'll give myself a "harumph" then Vendidad on your behalf.

William Neilson Jr. said...

The fact is, I am a UGA fan, and I don't know a single UGA fan who actually does NOT want Vandy in the SEC.

I think most SEC fans enjoy a school that sticks out academically

This guy is writing something b/c he knows it will get hits....not b/c he has anything to really get behind it

You shouldn't take the bait

Clark said...

Guys, why stop at UCF? Let's get University of Jacksonville in the SEC too! Not.

James said...

A very well structured argument. Better argument for Bianchi to explore is why no other BCS conference wants UCF in it.