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The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

To kill a mocking-book
To kill a mocking-book
February 21, 2024

Realignments made for collegiate-level sports

Katie+24+Staff+Illustrator
Katie ’24
Katie ’24 Staff Illustrator

Recently, universities in the United States have made realignments in various athletic conferences within the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Marlborough alumni at universities across the country are confronted with these ongoing changes, which present both challenges and opportunities for the future of their athletic careers. Long flights across the country, new competition and the spotlight on college football are effects that  specifically impact female athletes. 

Many universities have moved from the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) to others, such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Big Ten and the Big 12, due to financial reasons. These defections have left the formerly prominent Pac-12 with only two stragglers: Oregon State University and Washington State University. College football is the culprit. Many schools are looking to make lucrative TV deals with different conferences in order to expand their audience and make more money.

College conferences like the Big Ten have distributed tens of millions of dollars to schools in its conference, upping the cash flow to each university. 

“The Big Ten had the greatest revenue total at $845.6 million and the greatest per-school distribution at about $58.8 million for each school other than Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers,” according to USA Today. 

 Some athletes have looked down upon the motivations for universities to move conferences. 

“I think it’s just another example of how money often takes precedence,” Spencer ‘23 said. “I also think it says something about the disregarding of women in sports.”

Spencer ’23 has just started her first year as a track and field athlete at the University of North Carolina, a part of the ACC. The ACC recently announced that the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and Southern Methodist University will join the conference for the 2024-25 year. Such shifts will make it so that universities will play opponents nationwide, instead of just within their region. As a result, many student-athletes will travel across the country and compete with new schools. For Spencer ’23 and other Marlborough alumni, these realignments could provide a chance to return home. 

“I will also say that being so far away from home, I am excited to potentially have some competitions that will be easily accessible to my West Coast family,” Spencer ’23 said.

However, some athletes are concerned about jet lag’s effect on performance and the way that long-distance traveling will impact college life. 

“I felt bad for the athletes that will have to travel so far for competition,” Spencer ’23 said. “I can’t imagine how isolating it will be for West Coast athletes to have to travel such distances during the school year.”

Nonetheless, some Marlborough alumni also expect the realignments to provide new competition and opportunities to improve. Despite her concerns, Spencer ’23 believes this change will also provide a chance for athletes to compete at the highest levels across every sport.

“I am excited for more competition as true athletes want that,” Spencer ’23 said. “I personally will welcome the challenge.”

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Channing '25, Politics Editor
Katie ’24, Head Graphic Editor
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