28.Jul.2010 The Beavers’ Future in the New PAC-12
A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. -Plato
And so here we are, late July, 2010, on the verge of a new epoch in college football: the era of "TV markets", stadium attendance, and recruiting violations. And the questions must be asked: who is to blame and who wins and who loses?
Many in PAC-10 land are embracing Larry Scott as a boy wonder. A marketing genius from Harvard who has come west to save the pariah conference from…gasp…irrelevance. As if the conference would ever be irrelevant to an Oregon State alum, or a Stanford grad, or a Condom driving daddy's Hummer to a Lindsay Lohan intervention. In other words, to the people who matter (i.e. actual fans of the conference) it is and always will be relevant. The story should end there. But it doesn't.
In humanity's perpetual desire to expand until we explode, Scott is pushing sacred boundaries in the name of good capitalism. "But each school will receive x-million more!" a happy Beaver cries. "Larry Scott has saved Washington State!" dreams a Cougar on his Palouse farm. "Eureka!" shrikes a Ute, so loud Archimedies furrows his brow before croaking a second time. In their new-found worship of the money god, what fans fail to ponder is the cost.
When I was studying at OSU, we learned of something called "existence value" of open spaces. In short, it was the value gained by, let's call him "human being xyz", in simply knowing something exists. For example, I may never go to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but the pleasure gained in my knowing it is there (and I could go) is enough to justify preserving its purity.
I know I can't be the only person who, despite the millions of dollars gained, feels something more valuable has been lost. Larry Scott has puddled with a prideful conference's history, rivalries, and essence. Larry Scott has chipped away yet another piece of my youth, innocence, and ideals. What is the tipping point where the product is so sterile and contrived that I cannot watch at all? How many years off is it? And all for what? Ego? Larry Scott pasted his face on the new PAC-10 website. Larry Scott got his name out there. "He's doing what he was hired to do", some will argue. Sure. And that goes back to my original question: who is to blame? Fans cried for Tom Hansen's head. Now we have Larry Scott's face…everywhere…and Larry Scott's hands…meddling in…everything. Might we not look back, as people often do, and regret what we wished for? Utah and Colorado. Is that what we wanted? Much like Midas and gold, everything smart, middle-aged, white men touch turns to shit. They've now infected College Football in unprecedented numbers, and the outcome will be no different. How long before student athletes are paid salaries? You're already hearing rumblings, fellows.
And one final thought: where will all these executive decisions leave the Beavers? If you've been on this earth longer than fifteen years, you know executive decisions always favor the rich and oppress the poor. Right off the bat you can see the conference will have the same number of D1 recruits to select from, only split 12 ways. Just look to MLB pitching staffs to see the detrimental effects of watering down a product. The Beavers will not be able to compete in this conference. And don't think the conference is done at 12. Just like Karl Marx wrote, capitalism will thrive until there are no markets into which it can expand. I foresee a day, in the next fifteen years, when the Beavers seriously consider an invite to the Mountain West Conference. Due to the academic reputation of the PAC-10 and OSU's priority on research, they'd never leave (though it would be a wise football move). Which answers my final question: who are the losers? The losers, of course, are the Cougars and the Beavers. In other words, when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Cheers to a job…done, Larry Scott.