I’m not much of a traditionalist. In fact I would say I only have one.
Every Thanksgiving we load the kids up, trek up the hill and spend it with Mom in Flagstaff. The day after Thanksgiving, we make the turkey sandwiches and head out into the forest to chop down a Christmas tree. That night we drink a lot of wine and watch “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”.
It happens every year and I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything else and I mean literally, everything else is up for negotiation and subject to interpretation.
So when it comes to the traditions of college athletics, I’m the wrong guy to ask. I don’t believe in any of them.
It’s why I like Larry Scott. It’s also why I know some ASU fans – not many but some – may rue the day this deal was made.
Now please keep in mind, I grew up in the shadow of Sun Devil Stadium. Some of my fondest memories are Saturday nights, tailgating with my folks, watching the Devils, seeing all my friends from school who were there too and collecting as many souvenir cups as I could.
But I was also the guy who had no problem with ditching Camp Tontozona. The place was an impractical dump; Dirk Koetter hated it and yet had to tolerate it at the same time. I was the guy who laughed at anyone who suggested a “true” Sun Devil like Danny White should be the coach of ASU, especially those who cited his resume with the Rattlers. I was the guy who wanted the Sparky logo to be classified as an endangered species.
On the surface there would appear to be very little wrong with three billion dollars over 12 years for your rights fees. Very little wrong with placing your football and basketball products on such prime real estate as ESPN, ABC, Fox, F/X. Very little wrong with a rights package that dwarfs the mighty SEC.
That’s because there is nothing wrong with it. It’s bold. Visionary. Expansive. In-your-face. It’s everything Pac-10 fans wanted to see happen under Tom Hansen but you knew never would because Hansen was numbingly comfortable with the status quo. In a year, Scott zipped right by Hansen’s rocking chair approach to the conference.
But radical change doesn’t go over well with everybody. Look no further than the new helmets for ASU. Score a minor victory for the traditionalists as the antiquated Sparky logo still has a home on the back of the helmet. Instead of blowing that thing back to the sketch pad it came from, they kept it around because in the words of Lisa Love he is “best mascot in the United States” and is “going to get bigger”.
Who knows what it will look like now that the big time networks are involved. Three billion bucks over 12 years buys you a lot of latitude. I would presume more Thursday night games. More Friday night games. Rivalry games might get moved around from year to year, not falling on traditional weekends. The basketball schedule could look completely different than what we’re used to. Nobody knows for sure yet what it will look like but with ESPN and Fox essentially having an annual draft to see which network gets which game; I can assure you it will be different. When you have a rinky-dink TV deal you can dictate terms. No more.
Most, like me, simply don’t care. I’m more interested in what will be, not what was. This fresh coat of paint for the program and the conference is long overdue.
The long awaited revolution is upon us. And with each passing day and each deposited dollar, the good old days are gone baby, gone.