Mike Gundy Says Realignment Means ‘The Traditions of College Football Are Gone’

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Conference realignment has become an increasingly large topic of conversation in the college football world.

What started with the announcement of Texas and Oklahoma moving from the Big 12 to the SEC has accelerated with the news that USC and UCLA would be joining the Big 10.

Major structural changes within the NCAA to name, image and likeness rights have played a significant role in the dramatic shift within conferences.

Universities now (correctly) realize that presenting the strongest possible case to high schoolers with regards to maximizing their NIL potential will be extremely valuable going forward.

Opportunities in the SEC or future Big 10 could be significantly more appealing than in the Pac-12 or Big 12.

At a recent press conference, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy shared some of his thoughts on what that means for the future of college football and college athletics in general.

Most importantly, he correctly identified that the geographical and financial realignment means that “the traditions of college football are gone.”

Gundy also said that college football is now a “big business,” and that the decision makers in athletic departments and university administrations have to “adapt and change or get out of the game:”

The USC and UCLA move specifically influenced his statements, as he says the shift is even more clear now “than it was two weeks ago.”

He also correctly pointed out that the people making these decisions are “more interested in long term financial security than they are in traditions.”

Gundy is right, and he seems to understand the necessary balance between being “old school,” as he says, and understanding the business side of college football.

Tradition is perhaps more important to college football than it is to another other sport besides baseball. But paying the bills is necessary to keep the traditions going in the first place.

There have already been seismic shifts in the geographic and competitive landscape of college athletics, and many more will inevitably follow. But Gundy realizes that there isn’t much he or anyone else can do about it.

The game is changing, so traditions will have to change too.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC


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  1. My mamma had a favorite saying …. “Old Man Usta is dead”. … her life spanned the 20th century. She lived thru a LOT of changes. A lot that “usta be” got discarded or modified beyond recognition. It is part of The Cycle of Life …

  2. Some traditions suck like the Big10 & PAC10’s monopoly on the Rose Bowl. Others are great, but you can chalk it up this seismic shift to communist university leaders acting like oligarchs in their quest for cash. That led to everyone else wanting their share…. And voila, realignment so the rich can stay richer.

  3. He’s right. It’s just sad to see traditions gone for me. But I’m old school. It’s also sad to see the history of the country being dismantled by left thinking politicians, academics, corporate media, etc.

  4. At a game, the college football experience is far superior to that of the NFL. Passion and tradition are a huge part of this. As college football becomes more corporate (like the NFL), more money may come in, but this comes with a significant cost.

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