In my line of work you're taught from a very young age that you don't write an opinion piece in the heat of the moment. That's because, while emotions run high, you have a tendency to overeact to things and potentially say something you'll regret later. Just an early warning: for this post, I have completely abandoned that principle.
I am rip-shit pissed off right now and I don't think I am alone.
It was bad enough having to wait for the ACC invite like a fucking puppy dog with his leash in his mouth, but to then be kicked to the side once again by a conference I already LOATHE? Honestly, it's hard to keep my composure. If I saw someone wearing any ACC apparel right now, it would take all my restraint not swiftly kick that person in the most private of private regions, laughing and pointing as they fell to the ground.
I'm pissed at everyone.
First, I'm pissed at the ACC. Let me phrase this as diplomatically as possible: GO FUCK YOURSELF ACC. It isn't even that their annually overrated conference, which consists of two basketball teams (UNC, Duke) and one quasi-football power (Florida State) decided to pass over UConn. It's the fact that they started all this shit to begin with. Had they not decided to get wandering eyes for Syracuse and Pittsburgh, these dominoes wouldn't be falling right now. And, obviously, I'm pissed at Syracuse and Pittsburgh, but we've already beaten that issue to death.
Second, I'm rip-shit pissed at the Big 10. Seriously, think about it: this latest round of stupidity has happened because the Big 10 wanted MARYLAND and RUTGERS. Say that over a few times, let it marinate. The Big East is sinking like Oprah in a canoe, with UConn strapped to the fuckng anchor, because of those two schools. When is the last time either one mattered in anything when it comes to athletics? Now, obviously the cracks in the BE ship began well before this latest round of realignment, but at least the conference appeared capable of floating for a while. Now, with both Louisville and Rutgers out the door, it's like dynamite going off in a closed-in environment. Everything within a three-mile radius is destroyed.
Third, I'm pissed at UConn President Susan Herbst and Athletic Director Warde Manuel. I know some will say they could do nothing about this. I honestly can't believe that.
Obviously, if the reports are to be believed, UConn and Louisville were neck and neck for this invite. That means one school out flanked the other. With the announcement today, it's obvious which one made the right moves, and it wasn't UConn.
Here's my issue: since it is commonly believed that UConn was on target to get an invite with Syracuse but was blocked because of Boston College, that means they had a lot of ACC schools in their corner already. Did they lose that support? If so, why? UConn was in just as bad a shape from a football standpoint last year as they are this year. You can make the claim that basketball is much more of a question mark than it has been in the past, but haven't we been told time and again that no one gives a shit about basketball anyway? And, last time I checked, it was still a three-time national championship winner with four trips to the Final Four.
Plus, UConn is a better academic school, plays in a larger television market, and has roots in two very valuable national markets -- NYC and Boston.
So, what happened? I don't know, and it's doubtful we'll get all the details, but I know this: UConn's new President and AD didn't do enough to sell this school and program. I don't know what they did or what they could have done, but obviously it wasn't enough.
As Andrew already said, UConn had the inside track here and lost it. That's someone's responsibility.
Finally, I'm just pissed at college athletics in general. I know some might see this as sour grapes, but I wrote about my hatred for all things realignment back when I thought UConn was a no-brainer for the ACC. This makes me despise the process even more.
If I hadn't gone to UConn myself, hadn't been on campus when the Huskies beat Duke in 1999 to win a national title, and hadn't accumulated a library of fond memories associated with UConn and its athletic program, I would have been out on college sports a long time ago. It was hard enough watching a sport that treats kids like felons for accepting a few thousand dollars worth of "gifts" while administrators in suits make billions off their talent, but this game of musical chairs -- where college athletics is treated like a high school lunch room with assholes like John Swofford deciding seating arrangements -- is just sickening. The idea of UConn having to "make its case" to a troll like that, and to schools like Miami, is surreal in so many ways.
I have no idea where UConn goes from here. Chances are the presently-high and mighty ACC will be pillaged once again by the Big 10 or SEC, meaning UConn will probably find a home eventually. And while it seems somewhat farfetched now, it isn't impossible that the Huskies get a call from the Big 10 at some point.
Whatever the case may be, this is a dark, dark day in UConn history with little to no silver lining. For the time being they'll be forced to play in the Frankeinconference known as the Big East, hoping for the very thing college athletics doesn't need -- more turmoil.
There might be some rays of sunshine to be found in this whole mess but, honestly, I can't find them right now. I don't even really want to look.
I remember when I knew nothing about college athletics other than the games. That was a fun time. I might have been naïve, but it was fun. Now, it seems like the last thing that matters is what happens on the field.