Written By: Steve Macy, NM State Associate Athletic Director
The last few days have been filled with terrible news out of Penn State. I can’t even fathom what those parents are going through. It has allowed many of the sometimes-too-silent-majority a chance to step up and talk about doing the right thing, the moral thing. We get so inundated with doing what is politically prudent and even celebrating those that are good at politics or “playing the game.” People are actually talking about doing what is right, instead of what is easy. People are talking about integrity. I applaud and hope it brings more straight and plain talk.
The same thing is needed in the conference realignment madness. And it is madness. I have seen first-hand, on too many occasions, a respected member of an institution say one thing publicly and then privately do the very opposite the next day. They hide behind things like, “in the best interest of my institution” or “I must serve my boosters and supporters.” Fine, I get that. But, what is right? What is just? Are you a person of integrity, or not?
Just a few short months ago, the WAC Board of Directors voted to invite several institutions to join the league. Some of the schools are making substantial investments to make the jump to FBS. They were invited because they were needed. Now, some of these same schools that invited them are willing to walk out and leave them to fend for themselves, essentially saying we don’t need you anymore so move along.
We also saw this rear its ugly head only a year ago when the WAC was within a whisper of gaining substantial momentum, only to have Fresno State and Nevada secretly derail the entire plan, defect to another conference, and greatly weaken and harm the WAC. Look at their conference make up today and compare it to what they could have had in the WAC. Did their lack of integrity and honesty truly deliver them anything other than an almost identical alignment?
Today, there are ways to protect every school in the West, ensuring that they have the ability to compete at the FBS level. In fact, there are ways to do this that would actually enhance every single one of them. But, it takes someone to step up and do what is right. It takes courage. It takes guts. It takes leadership and a moral compass. Yes, it takes integrity.
There are schools that are publicly begging for conference affiliation changes that could drastically harm other schools, their current conference members. Those same schools are in a strong position to help dictate the way in which things will play out for everyone. Do they do the right thing, or do they hide behind the political speak and take the easy way out?
Time will tell, but perhaps the lessons learned this week will give them the courage to act in an honorable way, in a way that allows integrity to show its face, if only for a fleeting moment.