I touched last time on the detrimental side of conference realignment but concluded that it’s something Pac-12/college football fans will have to accept due to its apparent inevitability.

Well, perhaps that’s not the case anymore.

Pac-12 CEOs are now thought to be reconsidering this potential merger. And the new change of heart all revolves around academics.

Maybe- just maybe- there are more important things in this world than just money after all.

These fat cats atop the conference (but mostly Cal and Stanford) are worried about Oklahoma and Oklahoma State (who aren’t accredited members of the AAU) bringing down the conference’s reputation.

What’s the AAU you may ask?

Good question. In fact, I had to look it up myself. According to Wikipedia, the Association of American University is “an organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education.”

More or less, it “judges the value of the academic research of the university in question”. And since these two aforementioned colleges don’t hold themselves up to this standard, why should they be worthy of the Holy Grail of all collegiate athletic conferences?

Well, of course this is a little very hypocritical considering that the Pac-12, or the Pac-10 at the time, had no problem absorbing Utah, who aren’t AAU card holders.

Really, Cal and Stanford should be some of the more accepting parties of this monumental merger.

If the Pac-12 would absorb the Oklahoma schools plus Texas and Texas Tech, USC and UCLA would most likely slide over to the Pac-12 North and be reunited with their California school rivals, which could only help ticket sales.

Still, only time will tell as a vote is expected later this week.

And then maybe one of the age old questions will finally be answered: which is more important, education or sweet, sweet moolah?

So in our last discussion about fantasy football, we came to the conclusion that the pastime is in fact not destructive to the work place.

But what about the students that have to juggle homework, studying, and classes with their love of make believe football?

Some students don’t have any probably micromanaging their schoolwork with this form of online recreation but that may be just because it’s merely a hobby. What about the students who consider it an obsession (or to put it more delicately, an unwavering addiction that makes you a social leper)?

To find the answer to this question, I interviewed my own personal fantasy football league (apply titled “the league”).

No, I’m not that self-centered. But in my humble opinion, our league, and it’s ten members, is the epitome of unhealthy-ly preoccupied. Each year, the league throws down ten dollars for a pot of 100 dollars to the winner. More importantly though, the champion earns one of 25 name plates on our league trophy and gets to worship  possess it for the next year (Yes, there are 25 name plates. We plan on playing into our mid-40s).

You get the point now right?

Anyways, I first asked how many hours per week they each spend solely on their fantasy football team, whether that be tinkering their lineups, researching, hassling the other league members about potential trades or just drooling over their final score. Their answers ranged anywhere from 5-18 hours. Yes, you heard that right: 18 hours. That means some us dedicate almost 10% of each week to something that is essentially the slightly less nerdy version of World of Warcraft.

So you’d assume that this would at least have some negative affect on our studies, right?

Well you’d be wrong.

Shockingly, 9 out of 9 (not including myself) answered the question “Would you be a better student if fantasy football didn’t exist?” with a resounding “no”.

“I really only do fantasy when I don’t have any pressing academic matters to attend to,” said Griffin Hatlestad, a sophomore at Azusa Pacific University.

Some even laughed at the thought that fantasy football could make them flunk out of school.

“Besides missing one or two things a teacher says in class due to checking my fantasy team (fantasy football doesn’t negatively affect me),” said Adam Galen, a ASU sophomore.

Most realized that ultimately, if fantasy football wasn’t appealing to them, they’d still find another way to spend that time besides studying.

“I’m sure I’d study an hour or two more if that, but that’s about it,” said Chris Cole, an ASU sophomore. “In reality (though), I would find something else to waste my time on.”

In fact, a majority of the league said that fantasy football actually makes them a better student.

“It helps me to better visualize such things as supply and demand in my American Social Welfare Policy class and numerical tendencies in my stats class,” said Hatlestad.

“I did find taking Statistics last semester a little more interesting,” said Cole. “If my teacher had somehow tied that in for a unit or something, I would have paid attention much more than I did.”

Interesting. Maybe the real “epidemic” is not enough fantasy football in the classroom (Kidding. But seriously).

 

Since the beginning of football, there has always been a healthy debate between those who prefer the collegiate level and those who prefer the professional realm about which spectrum is superior. To sit here and write out all the arguments for each side would take hours, possibly days. But one point both sides can agree on is that one major thing that makes college football great is its historic rivalries that span back decades upon decades.

Now, two menacing words could put an end that very attribute that made college football so special: conference realignment.

This phrase is something not unfamiliar to Pac-10, I mean Pac-12 fans. Just last year, the conference absorbed the perinially ranked Utah Utes and the ex-Big 12 bottom-feeding Colorado Buffaloes.

But just like a bad infomercial, just wait, there’s more!

The Pac-12 may just become the Pac-16 while nabbing two of the most prolific programs in the history of amateur football: the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners (and Texas Tech and Oklahoma State but that’s not as exciting).

So you’re wondering why that’s a bad thing? It’s the tradition you dummy!

If those four teams were to pack up and metaphorically leave, it would leave the Big-12 (which is actually only the Big-10 after Colorado and Nebraska already headed for greener pastures) with just six programs (Baylor, Kansas, K-State, Mizzou, Texas A&M, and Iowa State).

At that point, the conference would most likely dissolve, allowing the rest of the conferences to fight over the scraps like hungry hyenas over a antelope carcass. That would most likely mean the end of one of the longest running rivalries in all of college sports: Texas vs. Texas A&M. In fact, even if the Longhorns decide not to make the jump, the rivalry still might be dead in the water due to A&M’s apparent infatuation with the SEC.

Now I know these teams love to hate each other but don’t you think they’d be sad to go their separate ways? I mean they’d even have to change their fight songs! (Yes that’s right, Texas and Texas A&M take jabs at each other in their respective fight songs. I guess this is where rappers got their inspiration for diss tracks).

From the Pac-12’s perspective though, this potential merger is nothing but lucrative. To add on two teams that are seemingly hovering around the AP top 5 every single season might make the conference undoubtedly the strongest in all the land (Yes, I’m looking at you SEC).

So with that, and that whole making millions upon millions of dollars thing, this conference realignment is a no-brainer for the Pac-12 fat cats. But what about the students perspective? This could mean increased tuition due to longer traveling distance and less competitiveness from some of the smaller schools that aren’t used to these big shots on campus.

Unfortunately, even if were to create some sort of England-riot-like uproar no one would probably listen (due to the whole, you know, money making the world go round thing).

So for now, we must just sit back, buckle in and enjoy the ride. Because obviously there are more important things in life than tradition. Like dead presidents.

To most, fantasy football is nothing more than a silly little game played obsessive men stuck in the glory days of youth sports. Those same people would say it’s a waste of time, a black hole that absorbs all productivity and even a “cancer to our relationship” (said in the whiny voice of my ex-girlfriend).

Well research has officially debunked all of those negative theories! (Well, perhaps just the productivity part. Scientists are still working on the whole “you don’t pay attention to me anymore” thing).

Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, a handful of great guys at some fancy consultancy firm have came to the conclusion that “fantasy football doesn’t waste your time at work”.

They even went as far as to say that despite “an estimated 21.3 million full-time workers participating in fantasy sports each year, with some spending as much as nine hours per week managing their teams” the impact in the workplace was still “negligible”.

Negligible. Music to my ears.

But they were forgetting one key thing: you need an education to get to that aforementioned workplace and use your employer’s free internet to put in a waiver claim on replacement RB2 because your starter decided to get turf toe three weeks into the season (I’m looking at you Jahvid Best).

So here’s the real question: what is fantasy football’s effect on a student’s education?

Well if you’re a glass half-full type, then fantasy football can help you with long division, calculus and all that fun stuff.

That may or may not have just been some propaganda from ESPN for you to choose their fantasy system (which is just splendid may I add) as your make-believe football haven.

So you may ask, what really is fantasy football’s impact on a student’s grades? Great question! In fact, it’s such a great question that I plan to take to the streets of Arizona State University to figure hear it straight from the horse’s mouth…in next week’s post (Shameless plug, I know).

So until next time friends. But remember, don’t let the man bring your love for fantasy football down. Some ingenious scholars from something called Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said it was more than acceptable.

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