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The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Changes flourish within college realignment

Photo by Courtesy of @ayeeecaleb on Instagram
USC #13 Caleb Williams prepares for the game.

Conference realignment has become a recurring theme in college sports recently, reshaping the competitive landscaping and creating excitement for both athletes and fans. As schools strategically position themselves for success, realignment has been looked at as a beneficial way of achieving that, due to the fact it draws heavy attention and increases the value of the school. It’s slowly become a forefront discussion for schools who look to better athletics, as well as draw more fans into the action. 

Top sports programs, such as the University of Southern California, Stanford, University of Washington, and several others, have realigned themselves into different conferences. Most, but not all, of the schools involved in realignment come from the PAC 12, which is a conference mainly built upon major pacific coast schools. Quickly, the conference lost all of their teams to various different divisions after USC and UCLA announced their departure in June of 2022. Consequently, the remaining schools in the PAC 12 began to leave one after another in search of a stronger conference. The ripple effect became evident as teams all across the nation began to position themselves in a better conference in order to toughen competition in the sports the schools have and become more financially viable. 

One of the primary advantages of conference realignment lies in the potential for better revenue and exposure. By joining a bigger and more competitive conference, universities can secure revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and more. The financial boost can benefit the school’s athletic program in ways such as better facilities, more advanced coaching staff, and overall stronger resources for student-athletes to better themselves. 

James Christoph ‘22, a student at Southern Methodist University, shared his views on conference realignment as his school was one of the many affected by it. Regarding the benefits and drawbacks of this realignment, he stated, “The school is excited for this shift in landscape since they face tougher competition, bringing more excitement and passion for the players and fans.” His comment conveyed the way in which this adjustment would power school spirit, give fans a sense of involvement with the team, and create valuable memories for the universities. 

Conference realignment is not only done for financial reasons, as it also heavily shapes the student-athlete experience. For most, the chance to face off against top tier programs made up of top tier players is a dream, allowing them to showcase their talents on a big stage. It adds a sense of ambition for both players and students of the school, as its major games define what college sports was made to be. As the landscape continues to evolve, the discussions surrounding conference realignment will be towards the center of many universities’ discussions.

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