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USC, UCLA join the Big Ten

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UCLA's women's volleyball team would have to travel across the country to play conference games if UCLA joins the Big Ten.

UCLA’s women’s volleyball team would have to travel across the country to play conference games if UCLA joins the Big Ten.
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damn. What a day yesterday. Before yesterday, I would have said that the entry of UCLA and USC into the B1G was probably the last reshuffle of the conference on Earth that could happen. Oh, how a few hours and some good TV money can change everything.

With the frenzy of the reshuffle, it’s hard to predict how long the current conference structure will last, as all schools with some influence in the NCAA are headed towards the SEC and the Big Ten (is Clemson next? Or is Dabo too proud to be his team? front of that league? Anyway, it doesn’t matter). Football comes first, along with the money that inevitably follows. It’s always been that way, and since the sport is making exponentially more money than almost any other athletic program at most Power 5 schools, it makes sense to take football.

Is that the best for the sport? No doubt not. There’s a lot of complaining in the CFB Twitter universe, and that’s understandable. Conferences are at the heart of the sport, and with ongoing debates over an expanded playoff with automatic conference title bids, the future of the national championship is also thrown into the dark with this unprecedented move. But as much as I love football, and as much as there is to be said about it (and I will say that at some point), I want to talk about all the other sports. The sports with no football budget, without a football schedule, without the benefits that in most cases come with being on a football team that don’t necessarily apply to other student athletes.

Football teams play once a week for twelve weeks a year. To put the USC and UCLA volleyball, basketball, softball, lacrosse, baseball, and various other teams in a situation where they now want to play a conference game every other time (which makes up the majority of their schedules). ) is hugely disrespectful to those student athletes and, frankly, legitimizes the argument that NCAA sports should be professionalized. That kind of travel is only required of professional athletes, not kids trying to get a degree they’ll need after college while doing the sport they love.

The “student” aspect of “student athlete” will be cast aside as they fly four or five hours each week during their respective seasons. They will be constantly missing class, they will likely be exhausted from such intense travel to the Midwest and East Coasts, and it will take a toll on everyone involved. For Big Ten schools, it might be a little easier, as they can easily schedule back-to-back games against both California schools in a one-way trip west, but that’s still quite a journey, and it’ll be a planning feat if they are able to pull it off.

Many more articles to be written, many more consequences to consider, many more things to bring up. But for now, I ask: will no one think of the UCLA volleyball team?

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