Tuesday, October 4, 2011

mizzou's a free agent. it's a mistake.

In the words of John McEnroe: You CANNOT be serious.

Earlier tonight, the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators voted “unanimously” to allow Chancellor Deaton to actively seek membership in another conference (presumably the SEC).

And the ONLY logical response to that decision, is either John McEnroe’s outburst, or Steve Rule 34. Which in case you’ve forgotten the most famous of the Steve Rules, was on full display tonight in St. Louis. “If you find that people’s reaction to something you do is to say “you’d have to be mentally retarded or named Steve” to have done that, just assume you f*cked up”.

Mizzou? You done f*cked up.

This move makes NO sense whatsoever, both from a competitive standpoint, a financial standpoint, and in what SHOULD matter, you know, if MU was actually an institution of higher learning devoted to, you know, HIGHER LEARNING, an academic standpoint. Although to be fair, this decision was so f*cking stupid, maybe they are devoted to HIGHER learning, emphasis on HIGH (rimshot!)

Let’s hit this point by point, starting with what SHOULD have been the overriding concern, academics. The SEC has many great sports factories. They will never be confused with the Big Ten (plus two) or the Pac 12 or even the Big East in terms of their academic reputations.

I mean, my God, is there is a single school in the SEC, save for Vanderbilt, that has at least a 50 percent literacy rate amongst its student body? Arkansas, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, we are DEFINITELY talking about the cream of the crop when it comes to what SHOULD matter about a college – their ability to educate the next generation. Missouri, no matter how much I make fun of it from an athletics perspective, is a top 30 university in this nation, if not a top 20. Their J School is second to nobody, save for possibly Northwestern. Their science programs are amongst the world’s finest. And they’re willing to whiz away on their (deservedly) prestigious academic reputation for … what, exactly? Financial gain? Well let’s look at that as well.

If MU bolts, they will have to do one of three things to deal with said bolting, NONE of which should be tolerated for even two seconds by us taxpayers who FINANCE THE GODD*MNED UNIVERSITY SYSTEM. The first option is to stick it out for the next two years, be a lame duck, and avoid paying the exit penalty due the Big XII. How this benefits anyone is beyond me. It screws MU with recruiting, screws the fanbase by playing games of no lasting consequence, and screws the SEC by creating a completely unbalanced conference. The second option is to negotiate a settlement of the exit fee and bolt after this year. To which, as a taxpayer whose f*cking money is propping up this university, I have one simple question that demands an answer: WHERE IS THE BUYOUT MONEY COMING FROM? If even ONE godd*mned cent of MY contribution to society is spent to send Mizzou to the SEC, I’m filing a class action suit against the University system. Look it, I’m a leftist. I have NO problems with being overtaxed to provide the general population the same f*cking opportunities my folks’ luck in life provided me. But I’ll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I authorize spending one f*cking penny on an “exit fee” so that the University system OUR money is propping up, can go pursue … what exactly? (More on this in a moment, because the athletics part of this is the MOST offensive, and God knows all of it stinks worse than a certain person in Raytown’s interior of his house, and that pretty much induces you to puke the second you step on the driveway.

The third option, is to just pay the full exit fee to the Big XII and be on your merry way. If the Kroenke’s want to buy MU’s way into the SEC, fine by me. Maybe their daughter can plagiarize MU’s acceptance letter – Christ knows she’ll fake everything else in her life. But, as a PUBLIC institution financed by PUBLIC financing, explain to me how p*ssing away $20 some odd million dollars of private investment is a good thing? I don’t claim to be smart. I don’t claim to possess much common sense. But it seems to me wasting $20 some odd million dollars so that you can get your ass kicked every Saturday by Alabama, LSU, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and A&M is RIDICULOUS. If that isn’t a clear violation of Steve Rule 34, I’ve never seen one.

So, academically, this is fifteen steps in reverse. Financially, this is RETARDED, both short and long term. And Mizzou fan, I know you’re saying “how is this bad long term”? You really need to ask that question? I’ll answer it for you, because it’s a two fold answer:

1. You do NOT have an adequate football facility to compete in the SEC today. Your stadium is too small, your training facilities are third rate. You’re looking at a MINIMUM of $50-$60 million in expanding Faurot Field to accommodate a SEC crowd. MINIMUM. To say nothing of expanding your training facilities. And that’s just for football! And once you waste taxpayer money on that …

2. You aren’t good enough to recruit well enough to compete in the SEC on a weekly basis. I love MU fan noting “we recruit Texas well”. WELL OF COURSE YOU DO! YOU PLAY THERE AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR! Now? You’ll play once every two years, if you go to the SEC. You wanna see the talent pipeline dry up faster than a purple hooter shot in front of me? Go to the SEC. I went to college in Texas. Have many friends who did as well. Believe me when I say this next statement, because it’s fact. UNLESS you are playing in Texas, and give the kid a chance to play in front of his family and friends, he has NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in going to the middle of Missouri. NONE. Why the f*ck would someone from Houston want to go 12 hours away, where nobody will ever see him play, at a third tier SEC school? (OK, fine, second tier.) But MU fan, you are more f*cked up in the head than I am if you believe MU can routinely compete with Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina. Christ, I just named HALF THE DAMNED CONFERENCE, all of whom will ROUTINELY kick your ass on the playing field! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING? Other than if your Board of Curators is truly insane.

And it’s that third aspect, athletics, that make this move truly mind-boggling. You will likely land in the SEC West. You will play, EVERY YEAR, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. You can’t beat A&M now in the Big XII. You have NO shot against Bama or LSU. Arkansas is a coin flip at best. And it’s not like the remaining two guaranteed opponents are a cakewalk -- Mississippi State and Ole Miss seem to always find a way to play on Bowl Week. You can make a legitimate argument that MU, right now, is the WORST team in the SEC West.

You’ll also draw three of these seven programs every year: Florida (won 2 of the last 5 national titles), Georgia (played in a BCS bowl 4 of the last 7 years), South Carolina (defending SEC East champs), Kentucky (made 7 straight bowls, although they’re fading), Vanderbilt (ok, they’re awful … but currently have more wins (3) than MU does (2)), and last time I checked, Auburn was the defending national champions.

You know who you project to match up best against? TENNESSEE. Except unlike the Vols, you’ve never won a national championship in ANY legitimate sport over the last fifteen years, if not ever.

Nice job moving to the SEC for football, MU.

And basketball? This is just a crime. No, really, it’s a f*cking crime. The SEC now has four legitimate basketball programs, and Big XII imports A&M and MU are half of that group. (Kentucky? Unquestioned leader. And while they’ve been down lately, Florida has won 2 of the last 5 championships in basketball as well*.) If you want to be feisty, I’ll concede Tennessee WAS legit, until the NCAA stepped in and shut down the cheating.

(*: read that last sentence again, MU. You’re entering a conference where a SINGLE SCHOOL has won 4 of the last 10 major championships in men’s football and basketball. To say nothing of …)

Baseball? MU is an upper tier Big XII program, routinely making the field and, as recently as three years ago, hosting the Super Regionals, in an attempt to get to Omaha. You’re going to the SEC? Good luck guys. LSU, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia are CWS REGULARS. North Carolina has won 2 of the last 3 CWS championships. And how the hell you’re gonna recruit against the ACC as well, where Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia, and Clemson are good for at least one berth in Omaha every June.

So how does this make ANY sense? Financially, it’s a disaster. Competitively on the field, it’s a catastrophe on the level of Hurricane Katrina. And academically? You’ve just cheapened an entire University system. And for what? To piss away $100 some odd million in exit fees and expanded facilities? To go from New Year’s Day bowls to Shreveport on December 20th every four years, with the other three years ending below .500? And taking a rising power in college hoops into the WORST major conference college hoops has to offer? You do realize how big a NATIONAL JOKE SEC hoops are, right? Where a team that went 12-4 in the damned conference DIDN’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO MAKING THE TOURNEY LAST YEAR! (That would be Alabama).

Thankfully MU, there’s still time to stop the insanity. You hold the cards. Texas has already laid down its pair of fours on the table. OU has been humbled when it’s pair of two’s couldn’t hold up. If you’re holding at least a pair of five’s, and I have to believe you at least have that, push all in. Demand true equal revenue sharing, a minimum ten year Tier 1 and Tier 2 rights fee cession to the conference, and demand a commissioner who favors the old Big 8 over whatever the f*ck is left of the Big XII. (Absolutely, I’d offer Chuck Nienas the permanent gig. I’m aware he’s 79. That guy looks 55. He’ll be around for awhile. As Dennis Dodd noted, his consulting firm told UT to hire Mack Brown, Oklahoma State to take a chance on some no-name named Les Miles, Utah to take a chance on Urban Meyer, OU to risk what remained of its program on a defensive coordinator named Bob Stoops, Georgia to risk what remained of its reputation on some dude named Mark Richt, and Kansas to take a shot with some fat guy named Mark Mangino. Call me crazy, but I think the guy knows quality when he sees it.)

And I’d go further. Demand as a condition of staying that both TCU and Houston are added to the conference (along with BYU). If we get to five Texas schools, it all but ensures UT sticks around. (Again, I lived there when the SWC fell apart. Let’s just say, there’s still half the state pissed off over how the merger went down, and it’s been fifteen years. And I am still definitely in that half of the state pissed off over the outcome.) And if UT is here, OU’s not leaving. And if UT and OU anchor this conference in football, with KU and your rising program* anchoring hoops, we can make this work. (To say nothing of the genius of adding BYU, who adds a guaranteed 9 win football team and 6 seed at worst men’s hoops team to the equation.)

(*: I’m probably the only person alive who thinks this … but I LOVED the Frank Haith hire. The guy’s X’s and O’s aren’t the best, but MU is going to KILL on the recruiting trail. I LOVED the Frank Haith hire. If MU sticks it out in the Big XII, within three years, MU will be back where it was opening the 2003 season: in the top 3 programs in America.)

MU, it’s all on you now to avoid stupidity, avoid delusion, take a long step back from the edge of the cliff, and take a deep breath. Please … take that step back, and take that deep breath.

Sam Mellinger put it best: MU is asking to see other people. And you know what? That’s ok. Nothing wrong with exploring your options if your girl (in this case, the Big XII) will let you. But at the end of the day, you’ll realize you can’t top what you have. Hopefully.

Because if MU leaves, it’s the single dumbest decision anyone on my side of the state line has made since Mayor Cleaver said “thanks … but no thanks” to NASCAR’s request to build a speedway in Independence. That was without question the dumbest decision made in the last fifteen years in the metro area. MU leaving for the SEC, would trump that brain fart big time …

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