Colleges used to band together into conferences according to the gravitational pulls exerted by simple geography and institution type. Now league alignments are driven by access to TV eyeballs. As the owner of two eyeballs myself, I’m fine with that. But I do have to wonder why all college sports have to march to this tune when only two — football and men’s basketball — draw sufficient audiences to generate big TV dollars. We should let the non-revenue sports keep their traditional geographically-contiguous conferences.
Mind you, I find many travel-time-related worries about the student-athletes in our midst to be cartoonishly overwrought. If travel time is truly such a pernicious evil, Hawaii has no earthly business being in D-I. Still, you don’t have to be a “think of the children!” reactionary to note that sending a women’s soccer team over a thousand miles to play a league opponent is odd, even if it makes perfectly good business sense for their football team to do exactly that.
In a realm with few clear boundaries, the distinction between revenue and non-revenue sports is as plain as day. Conferences should reflect that distinction.