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The Herald-Dispatch sports columnist Chuck Landon

There are 10 FBS conferences.

Well, guess what. There isn't one of them that's not a work-in-progress. Just look around.

The Big Ten hasn't gotten a member into the College Football Playoff for the last two years. In fact, Michigan State (2015) and Ohio State (2014 and '16) are the only Big Ten schools to reach the playoff during its five-year history.

That's why such league officials as Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman are making noise about expanding the College Football Playoff from four to eight teams.

Meanwhile, the stodgy, holier-than-thou SEC finally has given in and will allow the sale of alcohol beverages in stadiums this fall. Of course, about half of the SEC members are saying their schools still aren't going to partake.

We'll see how long it takes that high road to dead-end.

Even the Pac-12 has its problem. I mean, what else can we call it when the league schedules Friday night games every week? Why, the Pac-12 conference championship game is even on a Friday night.

So, yes, every major college conference has issues. And then there's Conference USA.

This league is sinking so fast it's as if league officials charted a course for the Bermuda Triangle.

It wasn't bad enough when Conference USA hitched its television rights to a wagon called "streaming." That has resulted in plummeting television revenue of about $200,000 per member school. That's a drop in the financial bucket compared to most FBS conferences.

Then, there was the half-baked idea of holding the Conference USA men's and women's basketball tournaments in the Dallas Cowboys' indoor practice facility - named "The Star," of course.

Why anyone who ever watched a basketball game would think a football indoor practice facility would make a Jim Dandy - or, in this case, a Jerry Jones - place for a college basketball tournament to be held, escapes me like a bad dream.

For all those who have had the good fortune of not experiencing a C-USA Tournament game in "The Star," permit me to applaud. They are much more fortunate than me.

It is, in a word, horrendous.

Yet, C-USA leaders have booked "The Star" for two more Conference USA tournaments. Yes, two more.

So, why did the C-USA basketball coaches sign off on this terrible site?

Ah, there's the rub. They didn't.

Despite the coaches' obvious vested interest, they had no say-so. None. This terrible venue is being forced on them. Which appears to be the way Conference USA's leadership is conducting business these days.

Remember how the Conference USA men's basketball coaches embraced the idea of pod scheduling and "bonus play" a year ago?

Well, they don't embrace it any longer. That's because it blew up in their faces during the 2018-19 season and did a lot more harm than good.

That's why most of C-USA's coaches, including Marshall University's Danny D'Antoni, planned on voting against the pod scheduling concept during the spring meetings in Destin, Florida. Bonus play simply didn't work.

But, then, the C-USA coaches found out they didn't have a vote on this issue, either. Again, league officials dictated to the coaches, telling them pod scheduling and bonus play would continue in 2019-20.

The coaches don't want it, but C-USA is forcing it on them.

This is no way to run a conference. Unless, of course, the goal is running it into the ground.

Which is precisely what is happening in C-USA.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at


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