Traditionalist Kirk Herbstreit Afraid of Direction College Football is Taking

Not everyone is thrilled with the recent moves of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

Kirk Herbstreit has always been a traditionalist and on a recent edition of SportsCenter the longtime ESPN analyst openly admitted he has mixed feelings about what is happening to the sport.

“I guess for me it’s just kind of mixed, I guess it’s our new world, our new reality,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t know how you feel, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I think when we did this realignment a few years ago and you saw teams like Nebraska leave and go to the Big Ten and Colorado leave. It was at that time we were thinking that Texas might leave and join the Big Ten or the Pac-12 and the Big 12 would have this same situation.”

“What’s becoming abundantly clear, and I hate to say this because I’ve always tried to fight it, is people are trying to stay at the top. They’re trying to compete with the SEC and it’s all about money. It’s no longer about tradition. It’s no longer about the things that I think college football has always kind of tried to stand itself on top of and really look at and appreciate rivalries and tradition and things of that nature.”

Herbstreit knows this is all about the money and schools are being faced with the fear of being left behind.

“Right now, I think it’s about money and keeping up with the Joneses,” he said. “And right now, Texas and OU, they’re looking over in the horizon to the east and they’re seeing that SEC and all that money, and they’re saying we can’t be left behind. We want to go into that neighborhood, and we want to join that group of teams, and that’s basically why we are where we are. And what this will do as far as the future, you know, if you and I are sitting here three years from now or five years from now, talking about college athletics, I have literally no idea where we are headed, but I feel like these are two big dominoes that are falling. And after this, what’s the Big Ten going to do? What’s the Pac-12 going to do? What’s the Big 12 going to do? The ACC? Right now, your guess is as good as mine.”

Like many others, Herbstreit isn’t thrilled with the direction the sport appears to be heading.

“My concern is not knowing what this will lead to. And again, I just hate losing the tradition of this sport,” Herbstreit said. “I’ve always been, I guess naive to it. I’ve always tried to be the guy that’s like, ‘No, we’re gonna hold on to our traditions. People care about those traditions. They care about the rivalries.’ Clearly, the decision-makers don’t. And we’re now in an arms race and it’s about the money.”

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