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In all likelihood, they would drop any charade about being nothing more than pro sports franchises without all those pesky player salaries.

“The expense side of college athletics has become such a focal point,” said Brad Bates, the athletic director at Miami of Ohio, which knows it won’t be asked to come along on the super-conference ride. “But we’ve always got to be true to the work of higher education.

“Our primary purpose,” he went on, “should be to maximize the development of students. Every decision we make should be guided by the overarching aim of student development. If not, quite frankly, we don’t need to be on college campuses.”

Hmmm, now we’re on to something.

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Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. He can be reached at pnewberry(at)ap.org or http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963