People are switching conferences like the one they’re in is radioactive. There are hushed - and sometimes not so subtle - whispers of closed-door deals and high-level emergency summits.
A mania has swept through college athletics, causing some schools to jump ship on decades-long agreements (see Syracuse leaving the Big East for the ACC) and century-long rivalries (think Texas vs. Texas A&M).
Meanwhile, some colleges like Kansas with storied athletic traditions are as nervous as a Greek politician waiting for his next multi-billion Euro bailout, anxious to find out whether they’ll have a seat at the super-conference table once the leaves are unfolded.
“The whole situation is a bit unnerving,” said LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who has been in this business more than 30 years. “You wonder where it’s all going.”
Of course, if you’re LSU, your curiosity only goes so far. Your anxiety comes with a handy prescription: Take two sedatives and call the Southeastern Conference in the morning.
It’ll still be there.
Maybe LSU can thank Huey Long or being on the ground floor at the right time when the SEC cut away from the Southern Conference in 1933, but it isn’t going anywhere. The SEC is too big and powerful and wealthy (let’s not deny it) to be dissolved or chopped up piecemeal by rival leagues.
Instead, LSU has a front-row seat to this unprecedented drama, munching on a hot dog and watching the high wire act play out.
At his Monday news conference LSU football coach Les Miles - previously the coach at Oklahoma State in what as of press time was still the Big 12 - lamented the teetering fate of the conference he used to call home.
Then he essentially thanked the football gods for being employed in the SEC.
“I have not given it much thought because there is one league (the SEC) that everyone wants to become a part of,” Miles said.
“I could have been in a position where every two days or so I would have to meet with the athletic director and discuss which league looks better than that league. That doesn’t happen here.”
There are concerns, of course. One is how elongated the SEC may become, and how much it may cost to send LSU’s volleyball or men’s tennis team to West Virginia (one possible newcomer) on a regular basis as compared to one lucrative football game.
And the SEC is changing, too. Already, Texas A&M has received conditional approval to become the conference’s lucky member No. 13. There were reports Tuesday (dismissed by SEC officials) that Missouri will become No. 14, forcing the SEC to into realignment by shifting Auburn to the East Division.
Overall, these issues aren’t going to give Alleva an ulcer.
“Some really great schools could be left out in the cold,” he said. “That’s frightening.”
As frightening as watching a scene in a horror movie - a scene in which someone else is the victim.