There are clearly 2 sides of the party when it comes to conference realignment talk:
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Let's get down to it
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You’ve all seen it by now, Texas and Oklahoma are pursuing a move to the SEC, and if you trust some big time folks in the CFB scene, it seems inevitable and sooner rather than later.
Prominent Big 12 source tells the American-Statesman the Texas-OU move to the SEC is almost done. "They've been working on this for a minimum of 6 months, and the A&M leadership was left out of discussions and wasn't told about it." Move could become official in a week.— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) July 23, 2021
As I’m writing this, this hit the wire from ESPN:
As for TCU, I was told from a couple of folks that the Frogs will talk to PAC-12. One source indicated that TCU has already had a discussion with the conference. It’s not only TCU, but Baylor and Texas Tech are rumored to also be part of that discussion. Again, this is all very fluid and it’s still very, very early. But, from the sounds of it TCU is at least being proactive behind the scenes.
Things got real, really fast. How does this impact CHARLOTTE? It’s safe to assume that the Big 12 (or whatever number they wind up at…) will be looking to add to their numbers which will begin a domino effect, likely plucking some programs from the AAC. The AAC will then need to replenish, where do they go? Conference USA, Sun Belt or the Mountain West (Boise St.)?
Unfortunately at this time CLT has not released their much awaited Athletics Master Plan that was discussed pre-COVID; there is no better time than now to stake our axe in the ground and show those plans (it’s worth noting that multiple programs have recently released plans as they relate to facility upgrades). As I say this—I understand that the people (for instance an AAC Commisioner) that need to see this likely already have—however you need to move the needle and create a positive narrative about CHARLOTTE athletics. Remember ECU to Big 12 talk? Of course, everyone does. It’s better to be in a conversation than to be an afterthought..
Realistically, what’s the master plan contain? Top items would have to be an indoor practice facility for football, stadium expansion (but how big would they go, do you enter Field of Dreams territory?), soccer specific stadium (we have a fantastic soccer history, so a facility dedicated to them makes sense and could be used for Women’s Lacrosse as well), facility upgrades for baseball (currently a preseason Top 25 program), food & nutrition facility for student-athletes (shot in the dark), dedicated men’s basketball training facility (also shot in the dark), revamped track and field complex.
Aside from that CHARLOTTE has some sports really humming right now, it just happens not to be the 2 money-makers. That said, football and men’s basketball were trending the right direction pre-COVID, do they regain that momentum this year? This, to me, is the biggest hindrance in being positioned for a move up. Potential? Hell yeah, we have it in spades, but it’s time for it to be realized and position ourselves better, if it’s not already too late.
If Charlotte isn’t scooped up by AAC, the best we can hope for is a complete realignment from C-USA and the Sun Belt to create more regional conference.