Monday, October 10, 2011

Memphis' AD Is Ambitious

University of Memphis Athletic Director, R.C. Johnson is awfully ambitious. There's nothing wrong with that, you want to do what's best for you and yours when you're in the the position to do so. Thing is, Memphis' athletic program isn't in the best position, save for the basketball program.

In an interview with WMC-TV, Johnson sent signals that he wants in on the realignment train, namely trying to hitch on with the mighty SEC.

"We want to try to get ourselves in the best possible place," Johnson said. "Ultimately we would like to be in the SEC. That's where we think we belong geographically. We think we deserve to be."

Not so fast R.C. From a basketball standpoint the program can compete on an SEC level. But conference realignment is driven by football and money. Something Memphis isn't very good in and doesn't have a lot of support. Why would Johnson want to send his football team there. They're not even a good mid-major. The only significant thing that came from the football program was DeAngelo Williams. So while it may be a geographical fit, it's not a fit for their football program.

"We're turning over every stone possible because we want to make this a bright future for Tiger Athletics, and conference realignment I think is part of that," Johnson said.

I can understand trying to do what's best, but set your sights a little lower, like the unstable Big East. Right now that may not even be a lock. Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Geoff Calkins thought of the notion as borderline hilarious.

"He can't be serious, in the sense of, they deserve to be in the SEC, like I deserve to be Mr. Universe. It's just so beyond the realm of reality in terms of where they are that you almost have to assume that he hadn't had his morning coffee or something," Caulkins said. "Why get up at five in the morning to go on a TV program to say you should be in SEC, when there is as much chance that you will be transported to Mars today as there is be in the SEC."

While Johnson has done great things for the Memphis basketball program, Caulkins said, he has failed to put Memphis in an advantageous position to get into the Big East, much less the SEC.

"Very recently the Big East has said they are going to expand by as many as six football teams," he said. "Shockingly, Memphis may not even be one of those six."

There's also the matter of a "gentleman's agreement" that says SEC schools will not admit members located in existing SEC states. Unless Clemson, Florida State, or Miami wants to leave the ACC. Johnson has to remember they're Memphis and they're not on an SEC level. If they were they would've been there a long time ago.