June 10, 2010
Conference realignment has started between the Pac-10, Big Ten and Big XII conferences this week. As this plays out, this will at least allow us to determine which schools will be involved in this first realignment move, and how all this will impact others across the country including Southern Miss. This will not all happen overnight, and will take some time for other conferences to act and react.
This week I will be traveling to the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida for a meeting with athletic directors from around the country. I expect to find most of my counterparts understandably anxious.
Fans who follow college sports know that late summer is the slowest time of the year, but this summer has been anything but slow as conference meetings between university presidents and athletic directors have been busy, eventful and all commonly-linked to the national chatter over conference realignment.
Prior to the start of spring meetings I had the opportunity to visit at length with a dear friend of mine who is the former athletic director at both the University of Cincinnati and Florida State University. Interestingly, he was actively involved in conference realignment while serving as athletic director at both UC and FSU and instrumental in Cincinnati joining the Big East and prior to that, he was a key player when Florida State joined the ACC. His knowledge of the conference realignment dynamic is highly respected, and I enjoyed hearing his perspective.
The people that I chat with are always complimentary of Southern Miss and note the strength of our athletic program and university. Our history of success, newly-expanded facilities, graduation rates and success on the field are all positives. Southern Miss competes in 16 NCAA-sanctioned sports and we are proud of the accomplishments of both our men's and women's programs. With more than 100 years of academic excellence and a Carnegie I research university, our school boasts internationally recognized programs in polymer and marine science and also one of only 25 schools nationwide accredited in all four arts disciplines.
These are the things that are most important to us as we strive to compete at the highest level. We will continue to monitor events as they unfold, and encourage our fans to stay engaged and spread the word on all the positive things happening at Southern Miss.