It's the age old debate in these here parts - the Big Ten vs. the SEC - and its likely that it won't be going away anytime soon. Especially when you get AD's going on record and helping to fan the flames of the debate. That's just what Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke did during the fourth and final part in a series of interviews with the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.
Of course, by fanning the flames, we mean speaking truth - something a lot of SEC folks seem to really hate. In the interview Burke spoke of a differing philosophy in how the Big Ten and SEC treat their athletic departments. In a nutshell it boils down to this: Big Ten athletic departments don't exist to service just one sport, in the SEC the rest of their programs exist so that football can be played.
Don't take my word for it though, here is exactly what Burke had to say:
"You have two very different models. You have an SEC model and a Big Ten model. The SEC model, almost across the board, is sponsoring the minimum number of sports (16). I'm not being negative toward the SEC, but their strategy has been to take seven men's sports and nine women's sports. That puts them in a gender equity balance. If you are getting 80,000 to 90,000 in your stadium, what that means is you're spending an awful lot on football. You have to call it what it is. I'm not saying it's wrong.
The Big Ten model is, let's get more kids, more opportunities. We have a larger athlete base. Our grant in aid (scholarship) base is bigger. It's not that we don't spend, but football in the south is a religion. It just is. When you look at the dollars and models, they're very different."
Things like a lack of speed, demographic shifts to the south, a relentless year-round obsession over football have all been given as to why the Big Ten hasn't "competed" well with the SEC lately, especially when you talk about national championships, with the SEC holding serve the last seven years and all.