Conference USA AD wants no part of a C-USA/Sun Belt merger

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As everyone's been trying to cut costs amid the pandemic, there's been conversation that perhaps Conference USA and the Sun Belt should swap members so the two leagues are less geographically redundant.

How much sense does it make that App State and Charlotte -- 101 miles apart -- are in different conferences but App State and Texas State -- 1,226 miles apart -- are in the same league? That UTSA and Texas State are 50 miles apart, but both travel 1,200-plus miles to North Carolina rather than hop on Interstate 35 to play each other?

Zero. The answer is that it makes zero sense.

But this ignores the driving factor in conference alignment in big-time college sports, not geographic tidiness, but ego. Not necessarily ego on behalf of the coaches and ADs, but of the institutions themselves. UTSA feels better about itself because it's not in the same league as Texas State. Charlotte likes looking down its nose at App State.

And, as Louisiana Tech AD Tommy McClelland said Thursday, Louisiana Tech wants no part of sharing a neighborhood with Louisiana-Lafayette.

"There is no conversation at Conference USA, nor is there any interest. I don't know how direct I can be with that," he said. "If I were in Lafayette's position, I'd be figuring out a way to move up to a level like Conference USA, and so congratulations on that conversation.

"If we all decided there was going to be a membership expansion in Conference USA, I think there would be numerous individuals from (the Sun Belt) that would be interested in joining and paying the premium that we all paid to be in this league. If their league expanded, I don't think there would be anybody in our league that would be interested in that."

With all due respect to Mr. McClelland, the fact that Louisiana Tech wants no part of sharing a conference with Louisiana-Lafayette just makes me want to see La Tech play Lafayette that much more.