When Stanford gained the Rose Bowl, it turned a dream faculty for 12-year-old me. What distinguished it from the Ivy League and different faculties, for me, was its willingness to pursue each tutorial and athletic excellence. Now, as a Stanford fan and scholar, I wish to see this faculty proceed to compete on the highest athletic degree doable. Masking certainly one of this nation’s most profitable athletic departments has been one of many highlights of my time right here, however current Pac-12 crises are making me understand that I can’t take without any consideration the flexibility to see your alma mater play on an essential stage.
Final Friday, 5 packages determined to go away the Pac-12 for conferences with extra profitable futures. After we heard the horrible news of Oregon’s and Washington’s departures, reports that Utah, Arizona and Arizona State would comply with escalated a putrid scenario to a firestorm. Now the one groups left are Stanford, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State. The latter two, overshadowed by bigger packages inside their states, are unanimously agreed to be the odd males out with regards to energy convention enlargement — leaving the ball in Stanford’s and Cal’s court docket.
The vitality that aggressive collegiate athletics deliver to a campus is unparalleled. The solar appears to shine brighter, courses really feel much less of a slog and folks typically appear extra upbeat.
There are actually solely two convention choices that might evoke this degree of aggressive spirit: the Massive Ten (B1G) and Massive 12. There haven’t been many stories about Massive 12 negotiations with Stanford, however current stories recommended the Cardinal may very well be a primary candidate to maneuver to the B1G. This, together with Cal becoming a member of the B1G, might maintain alive a few of the West Coast rivalries that we all know and love. The Cardinal might proceed their rivalries with Cal, Oregon, UCLA and USC, whereas additionally rotating matchups with different B1G foes to spice issues up.
That may be the optimum state of affairs. However what concerning the state of affairs the place the Massive Ten Convention fails to select Stanford up? With the information of Utah, Arizona and Arizona State transferring to the Massive 12, this may occasionally make it simpler for Stanford to hitch, since there may very well be a “Western pod” that decreases journey instances for athletes. Add in Cal and that wouldn’t be a horrible plan.
Some stories floated the opportunity of the remaining Pac-12 faculties becoming a member of the ACC. However how lengthy will or not it’s till prime groups like Clemson, Florida State and others resolve to take off for greener pastures? Plus, the journey instances can be much more of a nightmare than the opposite energy conferences.
Whereas the facility convention eventualities above are the very best prospects for the Cardinal, there’s a very actual probability that Stanford might want to accept a second-tier convention. This might comprise these presently within the Mountain West like San Jose State, San Diego State, Boise State and others. Whereas I’d be deeply disillusioned if this had been the end result, it could be the truth we now have to accept. With income sports activities performing poorly the previous few years, I’m not certain how enticing Stanford is in comparison with a decade in the past. And with the relative reluctance to dive head-first into NIL like different big-name packages, some athletic administrators and commissioners might not consider Stanford as a worthwhile program long-term.
Don’t get me fallacious: I believe these presumptions are incorrect. Simply take a look at the 2024 soccer recruiting class and the basketball recruiting courses of the previous few years. Stanford can positively appeal to a ton of gifted scholar-athletes. However the outdoors narratives might not work to our benefit as a lot as we’d hope.
I believe I’m penning this all to say that within the midst of this uncertainty inside faculty athletics, Stanford definitely stands out as a program teetering on the sting of taking part in with the large boys or being unnoticed. However as a fan and scholar, I do know that Stanford boasts a few of the most spectacular student-athletes within the nation and I really feel anyone can be fortunate to have them in a convention.