Only Constant is Change

I had a horrible thought the other day. I finally realized that I had become what I vowed as a young person that I would never be. What is that, you ask? My answer is "someone who almost without exception is opposed to change." It's not an intentional thing. It just happens.

The latest issue that finds me on the wrong side is the question of ACC expansion. Just about everyone I talk with or read seems to be in favor of the ACC expanding its membership from the current number of 9. This sentiment may be deceptive, however, because it would be easy for this expansion approval sentiment to be acceptance of the inevitable rather than a genuine enthusiastic desire to see the conference expand.

Why am I am opposed to expansion? It's more than just a general reluctance to change or at least I have convinced myself it is. You see, it goes back to the early 90's when we admitted Florida State. Everyone said, at the time, that Fla. State's membership would improve the level of play for the entire Atlantic Coast Conference but I have seen little evidence of this. The backers of expansion ,at that time, were referring to football only and even though teams other than Florida State occasionally perform well in football, I see no evidence that Florida State's admission has had the predicted outcome. For some reason, I didn't object when Georgia Tech was admitted but another factor creeps into the situation here. Academics. I still have difficulty viewing Florida State academics as equal to Georgia Tech's. Maybe it's a carry over from my service days when I was stationed in Florida and some old timers were still referring to Florida State as "Tally", short for Tallahassee State Teacher's College.

Maybe my suspicion is based on the fact that two other former Teachers College were in practically the same boat as Florida State but they have not enjoyed nearly the success in football as has Florida State. James Madison in Virginia and East Carolina in NC both were formerly all female teachers' colleges and made the change to university status, as did Florida State, immediately after World War II. Even though Florida State does not win the ACC championship in football every single year, they certainly dominate football in the ACC and the image of ACC football to the rest of the nation is that we are Florida State and the 8 little dwarfs. Something about Florida State and their approach to football has always been suspicious to me.

The other objection I have to expansion is that it is being done solely for financial reasons. More specifically, the additional revenue to be realized from the new TV markets and the additional revenue to be realized from a championship game between the two divisions which would be created. If the Boston, New York and Miami television markets were included in the ACC package, it would significantly enhance the ACC's position come negotiation time for the football television contract.

I agree with my buddy at Zigga, Mel Lewis aka Bob Lee Swagger that three more logical choices for admission would be South Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. While the TV payout wouldn't be as large for these four schools, the rivalries would be better and visiting fans always add to the atmosphere in Kenan. Wonder how many fans will travel with Syracuse, Boston College and Miami when they come to Chapel Hill.

I have accepted long ago that financially speaking, actions of the Athletic Departments are motivated primarily by television considerations and some of the negative effects of such decisions won't change regardless of who the new admissions are. For that matter, they are present whether we admit any new schools or not. No wonder more and more people opt to stay home and watch games when starting times, commercials and playing dates are usually determined by the television people. At least at home you can go to the kitchen or bathroom when the commercials are shown.

I'm not going to become too embroiled in this issue. I'm perfectly content to sit back and let the big boys ( and girls-Shalela, Yow, Keohane and Fox) decide what to do. I must admit though that I have been looking around for other possible beneficiaries of whatever small amount of wealth I might possess when Mrs. RamFanatic and I pass on. The people who make athletic department decisions have told me, the paying fan, what they think of me and I just might return the favor.

In the meantime and forever, GO HEELS.