I’m seeing more and more photos of social media, showing newly refurbished competition surfaces for various sports teams.

Whether it is a freshly-painted ACC logo on Cal-Berkeley’s football gridiron, or the Big Ten logo in the free-throw lane of the University of Southern California’s basketball court, the era of the coast-to-coast collegiate conference is just beginning.

It’s not just the visuals that will be jarring, however. It will be a lot of the budget outlays to fly student-athletes, especially from non-revenue sports, across the nation.

Now, in many athletic endeavors, teams will group their teams in pairs, such as when North Carolina’s field hockey team will play at Stanford and California the first weekend of October.

But the frequent-flyer miles will really start accumulating in the spring, when some of the lacrosse schools, such as UCLA, USC, and Oregon will start coming out east and when schools on the East Coast will start flying out for reverse fixtures.

To be sure, there is now some ridiculous money being spent on college sports. Sponsors, on-line wagering, and revenue from names, likeness, and imaging are flying around with a fury and recklessness that would befit the Wild West.

I’m also watching a little warily for signs that running a coast-to-coast league may not be sustainable. I look at what has been going on with certain restaurant chains and the overspending some of them did in order to expand in the last 50 or so years. Some of them had been small regional operations, but plowed investment dollars to try to grow the business.

Some have worked. Some have not. But the ones that went into bankruptcy committed the error of being too ambitious when it came to growth. “Too much, too fast,” some might say.

Now, if you’ve seen some of the movements of college sports teams the last few years, and thought they were a bit outlandish in terms of geography, think of this: a Division III school, the State University of New York at New Paltz, announced its intention to join the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

If you hadn’t been paying attention, there have been a lot of seismic movements in D-III athletics in the last few years, with the formation of some conferences with up to 16 members. Mind you, most of these still make sense when it comes to geographical location. As far as I can tell, it is rare for a team to have to cross more than a couple of state borders to get to a conference rival.

About the only one with a true geographical splash is the University Athletic Association, which has schools in Massachusetts, Illinois, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

None of the current eight schools has lacrosse or field hockey in their varsity offerings.

Makes me wonder.


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