Let’s face it. This topic is going to dominate college sports for a while.
Jake Crouthamel, Syracuse’s former athletic director, articulated in a telephone interview Sunday night a dire future for the Big East. Crouthamel, who helped form the Big East as Syracuse’s athletic director from 1978 to 2005, said he did not see the conference’s surviving.
He predicted that Syracuse would be in a different conference within five years and that there would be “utter turmoil” in college sports.
“I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while,” Crouthamel said. “I don’t see a whole lot of alternatives for anyone. You only control what your conference has. You don’t control what the Big Ten or the Pac-10 or the SEC does. What do you do? I don’t know what you do.”
The best chance for the Big East to survive, he said, would be if the Big Ten, with 11 teams, adds only Notre Dame.
That just isn’t going to happen. No matter what your feelings are on ND. No matter if you feel they are being delusional, arrogant, insane. Whatever. It isn’t happening. The students, alum and all forces outside the school are so firmly against it.
The school president, athletic director and even their board could very well know that it has to happen, but that is a long-term issue. If they even tried to make the move it is more likely that they would face such opposition that they would lose their jobs and positions.
Realistically, the problems would hit ND years later. After the present people in power are dead, retired or moved on to another place. So, they have little incentive to commit career suicide at ND for a future they won’t be a part of.
Maybe the Big East survives with football for a while. Maybe it becomes a slightly better C-USA. But if the Big East was considered the weakest of the BCS conferences before the expansion talk, this isn’t going to be an upgrade.
Now I agree with Sean at TNIAMM to the point that the Big East has done nothing to plan for what everyone knew would eventually happen — that the Big East would be raided once more. To some degree I get what he writes and somewhat agree that BE Commish Marinatto as part of that Providence mafia has been protecting the Friars and other b-ball only schools.
What I will say, is that there was no choice once the Big East stuck with the hideously unwieldly hybrid conference. That created two distinct classes of schools with very different goals and visions. At that point the die was cast and the Big East’s end was already in motion. It has merely been a little slower and different than envisioned.
It is one thing for a conference to exist with “haves” and “have-nots” in football — say a Duke and a Clemson from the ACC. But, they all share in the revenue from football and benefit. Duke may not really care about football, but they support it in the ACC. They see the benefits and actually receive them. It is why they actually had an incentive to try to improve. The same goes for Vandy in the SEC, Baylor in the Big 12, Indiana in the Big 10, and so on.
In the Big East, though, Seton Hall, Georgetown and others get nothing from Rutgers, Syracuse or Pitt improving football and getting bowl and TV money. What do they get from it?
In fact, it works against those school’s individual, competitive interests. The additional and substantial revenue stream gives the football school more money to put into all facilities and the overall athletic department budget.
Both sides (and especially the fans) have increasingly viewed the Big East conference offices as favoring the other side to the detriment of their interests. That perception only fuels the distrust.
So, the fact that the Big East now seems paralyzed, unable and unwilling to do things to move forward is a result of its present 50-50 composition and the decisions made in 2003.
So, no. The Big East can’t and won’t kick out Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall, St. John’s, et al. It can’t make Villanova make the leap to 1-A. It won’t bring back Temple and add UCF, Memphis and ECU in a proactive manner. (As opposed to the predictable reactive manner after the Big 10 comes.)