Sunday, October 9, 2011

Signs of the Offseason 2011-08 -- Conference Realignment: Big East Agonistes

We Have All Been Here Before?
New York Times sportswriter Pete Thamel reports that the Big East Presidents will hold a conference call on Monday October 10. This will be the second conference call in three days and the third time in eight days that the Presidents of the 14 remaining schools have huddled over the future of the conference. Thamel suggests the agenda will include raising the exit fee. As reported by, the fees will settle " the 10 million dollar range". Neither nor Thamel anticipate that any invitations will be acted on during the meeting. Denver Post sportswriter Mark Kiszla reports that Air Force is preparing to move to the Big East, the announcement scheduled for (possibly) the end of October. The Falcons will play football in the Big East while moving their other sports (basketball included) to the Missouri Valley Conference.

Here and There...
Tom Luicci of the Star Ledger is reporting that the Big East, in addition to the military academies, is also courting Boise State of the Mountain West Conference. The Broncos could help the conference retain their automatic qualifier status in the BCS system. Like the Air Force, the Boise State invitation is for football only. The Broncos would have to find a home for their other sports. Unconfirmed by Boise State, file this one among the Rumors for the time being.

In the immediate aftermath of Syracuse and Pittsbughs announced exit Connecticut President Susan Herbst seemed more involved in pursuing an exit strategy rather than raising the conference standard and rallying the disheartened among the Big East members. That task was left to Louisville AD Tom Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino. The very public lobbying of the Atlantic Coast Conference conducted by several Connecticut newspapers came to nothing when ACC Commissioner John Swofford indicated in September 28 interviews that the conference is "...very settled" at 14 members. Boston Globe sportswriter Mark Blaudschun offered another explanation for the ACC expansion today however. While virtually all of the movement for the past two years has been to build revenue streams on football programs, Blaudschun suggested the ACC move to snap up Syracuse and Pittsburgh was motivated by basketball, and the Big Easts recent surge to the head of the class. Raiding the Big East to grab two of the conferences most successful basketball programs was, Blaudschun reports, was meant to apease basketball powers North Carolina and Duke, both of whom felt the 2004 raid which brought Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College into the conference further diluted the basketball side of their conference. Connecticut Blaudschun asserts, was left out at the behest of regional rival Boston College who was still unhappy at the lawsuits filed when the Eagles left in 2004. What goes around comes around...

H/T: & Pete Thamel

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