Air Force's name is one that's popped up in possible Big 12 expansion candidates, and according to a report in the Denver Post, the conference explored the possibility of adding the Falcons.
"We were approached by the Big 12, and I told them we're not a good fit for that conference. In the Big 12, geography makes sense, the economics make sense, but recruiting makes no sense for us. I can't recruit against Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State," [Air Force athletic director Hans] Mueh said.
"That's why I turned down the Big 12. I can't do that to my kids, because they'll get beat up. I'd love the extra $12 million or whatever it would be per year from the TV money. And I know how I'd spend the money. I'd build a new soccer stadium, and I'd build a new baseball facility, all in one year. But I can't do that."
Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait.
Did I just hear an administrator consider the competitive element of sport, rather than chase money or embrace a misguided machismo of an upgrade in athletic conference?
I had to read it twice to make sure. Mueh is absolutely right. Air Force may bring with it a national audience, but the admission standards and lifestyle of students in the Air Force would make life extremely difficult on any service academy in a major conference.
Recruiting against Oklahoma and Texas at a level that would allow them to be consistently competitive really would be impossible.
"There are terrible, terrible hard feelings in college athletics," Mueh said. "I'm so disappointed with my fellow athletic directors. I think we have put the student-athlete in second place while chasing the dollar."
At the core, one could argue that all of the recent conference moves, Big 12 and abroad, boil down to wanting money, but they're also more complicated than that.
Regardless, we know there's at least one major administrator left who isn't trumpeting the idea of "student-athletes first" and immediately trampling all over the ideal.
Interesting stuff from the Big 12 side, too. Unless others turned the league down, I doubt it ever would have progressed to the point of an offer, but it's always interesting to hear any decision-maker speak frankly about how they see their institutions.