You can't sit with us, Rutgers. But it's not your fault.
Hi, Rutger! This will make you all upset. That's fine. You'll talk about how historically bad we are at football (which you are also!) and how you beat us last year. That's fine. This really isn't personal. It's really not even about you -- it's about the sheer stupidity of the fact that you're in this conference to make money for a organization that claims it isn't about making money. Remember? This is amateur athletics! It's the place where we make people poor, and then tell them it is good and righteous for them to be poor. This builds character, you're getting an education! This thinking is built on the misguided American believe that hard work alone can lead to financial success. It ignores generational wealth, or the lack thereof it for others. College was easy for me -- I lived comfortably, ate what I want, and could buy generally what I needed because I had wonderful, loving parents that had the means to make sure I could do so. I'm thankful for this. There are plenty of others with wonderful, loving parents that simply don't have the means to do this. A large percentage of them are college athletes. Something as simple as $10 an hour would go a long way to providing a little extra comfort.
Your tropes about amateurism are stupid, pay them the money.
Jim Delany talks out of both sides of his mouth -- or quite possibly his ass -- on this subject. One moment, he'll stupidly claim that the Big Ten would drop to D-III before paying players. The next, he's inviting a school in Piscataway, New Jersey with no historical ties, limited athletics success, and more negative headlines than positive to the conference. Granted, those three reasons have been looked past before in conference realignment and will be into the future. But are weekday trips from Iowa City to New Jersey really an academic benefit to student athletes? Are schools really adding more east-coast students because of Rutgers' addition to the conference? Those answers are no and no. This is a possibly-misguided move simply to tap a television market -- the exact same motivation the professional sports organizations use when relocating or expanding. It's about adding money to your coffers -- the same damn ones that you look at and claim well. we just can't afford to pay them. Sure, you can argue this money comes back to kids in the form of facilities or coaches salaries or research or some other unjust reason. Fine. Pick a cheaper carpet for the locker room and give the kids enough money to buy a new pair of jeans and take their girl on a date. These things are not mutually exclusive. Stop acting as if they are.
You can't hold Indiana responsible for this. Fred Glass has been has shown as much forward thinking on this issue as any across the country with the Student Athlete Bill Of Rights. This is squarely on the shoulders of conference leadership. It's on Jim Delany, first and foremost. The Big Ten Conference is all about academia and amateurism, until they look at the balance sheet from that beloved television network. It's stupid and hypocritical -- you cannot have it both ways.
So, Jim. Here's our request. We'll welcome Rutgers when you decide to pay players a livable wage to place their bodies on the line every Saturday for your blessed TV revenue.
Until then, it'll be awkward for all of us.