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September 19, 2011

Kind of fun being in the eye of this at the moment. It’s all swirling around Pitt, but at this point the only thing landing on Pitt is the name-calling. Here’s the thing Pitt fans: many of us decry when others — players, management, PR flacks,  others in the media have a thin-skin about things. Same rule applies for us. There has and will be crap flown towards Pitt. Not all of it particularly intelligent or well-thought out. Not much of it you will like.

Hard, though, it may be, deal with it. Don’t take it personally. You can offer the facts. You can point out the obvious evidence. Just don’t let yourself get too worked up over the silliness. Pitt is going to be painted as the bad guy. It’s the simple narrative. Some will go over the tops, others treating it like Pitt just part of the general problem.

Let me take you through the run down in case you missed some of it.

One other factor to consider. All the other expansiopocolypse involved pure football plays. Texas has a really good b-ball program. Texas A&M, Oklahoma and OSU have their moments. But as far as national college basketball writers are concerned, yawn.

That all changed with Pitt and Syracuse fleeing the sinking ship of the Big East.

Suddenly, over the weekend, it started to feel real. Really real, really fast.

Conference realignment — two words everyone’s quickly adapting as cringe-worthy as “Brett Favre” — just had its first corporeal, wide-ranging impact on college basketball. Before this, the BYU, Texas A&M, Colorado, Boise State (what? Don’t you realize it jumped form the WAC to the Mountain West?) and Nebraska scurries from one spot to another were fringe movements; the fray before the tear. They no doubt signaled a larger shift at work, but it wasn’t until the swift — and goodness was this FAST — bolt from the Big East by Syracuse and Pitt that we really felt the revolt.

We finally have a tear.

The other schools jumping, like most of these decisions, if not all of them, were football-related. But I don’t see how the case could be made this Syracuse/Pitt package deal was all about pigskin. This truly, tangibly shifted the perception and existence of the college basketball world.

The attacks suddenly come into focus when you realize most of the media vitriol is coming from college basketball writers. Not the football ones, who really took it as a side dish.

He also claimed the move was not a “reaction” to events elsewhere, but are we really to believe it’s a coincidence the conference suddenly decided to add two marginally relevant football programs at the same time its neighbors in the SEC are looking to expand?

In fact, the on-field ramifications of the Pitt and Syracuse moves are so inconsequential to anyone but the Pinstripe Bowl selection committee that it’s far more interesting to contemplate the possible effects on two bigger fish: Texas and Notre Dame.

I’ll be coming back to some of the Texas and ND fall out soon enough.

Now that this stuff is hitting the college basketball side, and it isn’t so antiseptic and detached.

Dana O’Neil — who has done some great long-form stories on individual players and coaches — was one of the early ones to get stupid. The founder of the Big East, Dave Gavitt — the conference’s first commissioner, and former Providence AD — passed away on the same day that it came out Pitt and Syracuse were bolting for the ACC. Now, facts be damned, the symbolism is just too good to be skipped. The headline of the story screams the theme, “Greed and Hypocrisy Spell the end of the Big East as we know it.”

Now, on the same weekend Gavitt died of congestive heart failure at the age of 73, Syracuse has helped bury the league he so adored.

Because this is the end of the Big East. Let’s not kid ourselves here.

Let’s not. Greed, hypocrisy and fear were the reasons the Big East came into being. The conference was formed because the predominantly Eastern Catholic colleges feared the threat of a football driven conference led by Penn State. They formed the Big East, not out of some ideal but by fear and greed. The greed being the recognition that they could package their basketball for the nascent cable TV market.

As for hypocrisy and happily destroying history, just look to Boston College and Holy Cross. Before the the formation of the conference, the two were evenly matched rivals in one city. They wanted to join together. Keeping their rivalry and history. The Big East would only take one. They only needed one school in the Boston market. Boston College eventually blinked first. While the death of Holy Cross basketball as a significant factor in the East may be directly on BC’s hands, it was the Big East that helped bring it about.

Or Temple. For much of the 80s and 90s, Temple was simply the better basketball program in Philly than Villanova. They had a bigger market share of Philly, nationally ranked and a recognized force. The Big East never let them all the way into the league because Villanova wouldn’t abide it.

When the conference finally had to add football, it was with its nose held and treating Rutgers, WVU, VT and Miami as barely tolerable presences. You don’t think that treatment didn’t make it easier for VT and Miami to leave later. To justify leaving, then you are kidding yourself. If you think Rutgers and WVU fans have forgotten, then you are delusional.

Now Pitt has come in for more of a pillaging because Chancellor Nordenberg led the charge to save the Big East in 2003. His words from then are being used as Exhibit A to show Pitt’s hypocrisy now. Again, this is typical. This happens all the time in politics. Pitt Script attacks this issue.

That Pitt warned the Big East as far back as May that they would look out for their own interests is not relevant. Nor is what Pitt did in 2003 to salvage the Big East. The change in the landscape of college athletics is also not the point. It is the standard, “gotcha” bit for declaring people hypocrites. Nothing that can be done about it.

Mike DeCourcy, a Pittsburgh native, and one of the best college basketball writers out there hates the present expansion situation because he sees it as being bad for college basketball. He wrote a very silly piece on how Pitt could be doomed because of the move to the ACC.

There are three principle ingredients to the Panthers’ stunning, almost incongruous basketball success: The particular genius of coach Jamie Dixon, the construction of the Petersen Events Center and the Big East Conference.

He argues that Pitt could lose Dixon and without the Big East their recruiting strength of NJ, Philly and NY. The latter is easy to rebut. Pitt has not been a primarily Philly/NY/NJ recruiting program for several years. This isn’t to diminish the importance of those areas for Pitt’s recruiting, but Coach Dixon has expanded Pitt’s recruiting.

The 2008 core of Robinso, Gibbs and Woodall was really the last time for that. In 2009: Zanna (Nigeria via Maryland), Taylor (grew up in NY but was in prep school in Maryland) and Patterson (Lancaster, PA). 2010: Epps (NJ), Wright (Cleveland) and Moore (NY but prepped in Connecticut). 2011: Birch (Montreal, prepped in Massachusetts), Durand Johnson (Maryland, prepped in New Hampshire), John Johnson and Malcolm Gilbert (both Philly). 2012: Adams (New Zealand, prepping in Mass.) and Robinson (Marlyland). Somehow, I don’t think Pitt will struggle to continue recruiting in the area.

Now the issue of Coach Dixon. This argument is almost interesting:

Around 18 months ago, when Pitt was rumored to be a candidate for membership in the Big Ten Conference, Dixon was known to be less than enthused about that prospect. What he understands that too many do not is that Pitt’s presence among the basketball elite is more perilous than just about anyone’s.

Dixon’s success against Big East heavyweights such as Syracuse and Connecticut has made him among the most coveted coaches. If he perceives the Pitt job as weakened because of a move away from the Big East, he might be induced to move away, as well.

Let me say, that if Pitt was going to the Big 10, then yes, I could see Dixon leaving. He definitely did not want Pitt heading to the midwest. Not when all his recruiting inroads have been in the East. And where is the ACC? Pitt will continue to try and schedule a game in MSG — just as Duke does. It will look to play a game every year or so in the Philly area. Last I checked there was more than just Villanova in Philadelphia.

Given that there may not be much of an East Coast presence to whatever is left of the Big East, the greater risk to Pitt basketball would have been staying. How would Pitt basketball been better served by playing games with Iowa State, Kansas, Baylor and Big 12 remnants along with Cinci, Louisville and USF?

As for real blame for the Big East heading to disaster. Well, at least one long time college basketball writer knows the score. Dick Weiss may be an old NYC basketball writer, but he is still one of the best.

This was a rough, rough day for Marinatto, who was last seen doing his best impersonation of Beebe, pacing the hallway while he talked on his cell phone before finally disappearing.

This sadly looks like a colossal failure of leadership on the part of a commissioner who is in over his head. Syracuse and Pitt would have never dissed previous commissioner Mike Tranghese like this. But Marinatto is no Mike Tranghese.

And he’s no Dave Gavitt, either – a driving force behind the creation of the Big East, and one of the most influential voice in college sports, who died Friday night at 73. Gavitt was the conference’s first commissioner.

Other than talking about giving the remnants of the Big 12 a safety net if Texas goes to the ACC, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State bolt for the Pac-12 and that league implodes, Marinatto has failed to protect his strongest assets once the dominos started falling in this second round of expansion. Unlike the ACC, which just voted to raise its exit fee for teams wishing to defect from $12 million-$14 million to $20 million, the Big East has made it too easy for its current teams to get a divorce. The price of freedom in the Big East is only $5 million plus a window of notification.

College athletics is entering a brave new world and it appears the Big Ten, SEC, Pac-12 and ACC are going to be the big winners. The Big East can try to cobble together a viable league in hopes of keeping a seat at the BCS table by offering to add Central Florida and hoping the Big Ten, SEC or ACC doesn’t poach any more of its current members.

But if Big East football collapses, there will be a lot of fingers pointing at one man.

Not if, when. And it appears that the basketball-only side of things might want to jump rather than be pushed.

As the fissures continue to grow in the Big East, the league’s seven non-football members have decided to explore their options.

The athletic directors of St. John’s, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame have scheduled a teleconference Monday to discuss the league’s ever-changing status. The move follows the defections of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, with the prospect of more losses if the SEC targets West Virginia, the ACC absorbs Connecticut and perhaps Rutgers, and TCU reconsiders its decision to join this BCS conference in 2012.

The instability has created the growing possibility that the basketball-only schools could seek a split from the football-playing schools in this massive 17-team league and put the wheels in motion to form their own Catholic league, hoping they have enough clout to negotiate a decent TV deal with ESPN.

Yeah. Good luck with that. The article also notes that the non-football members are really deficient in the negotiations and well, much of everything these days.

Oh, and that ESPN extension that Pitt was abruptly blamed for the Big East not taking a couple months ago? Yeah. Pitt fought it, but hardly without some bi-partisan support.

Presidents from Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Seton Hall voted against the deal, sources said. Others, including Pittsburgh and West Virginia, also were vocal skeptics of the deal, preferring to wait and see what the open market would bring once ESPN’s deals ended, following the 2013-14 football season. Still, the presidents voted 12-4 to accept its broad outlines.

Four weeks later, just a week after a record-breaking deal for the Pac-10’s media rights was announced, the Big East’s presidents met again. Not surprisingly, they needed only 15 minutes to reach a unanimous decision to reject ESPN’s offer.

Go figure.

Speaking of Notre Dame. Some truly astounding comments from the ND AD.

“I don’t understand it,” Jack Swarbrick said as a new round of conference hopping in college athletics moved into high gear Sunday. “How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you’re affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?

“I’d like to know how much of these discussions are: What’s right? What is the best thing for the larger enterprise, and how many other schools would be adversely impacted?

“I just don’t know that that’s happening.”

I’m sorry. Notre Dame bothered that another school looked out for its own interests ahead of a conference or others? Let’s just say that I’m going to slightly discount that statement.

No doubt, though, Swarbrick is concerned. After all, Pitt and Syracuse just adversely impacted his school. The Big East is questionable in a future. If Swarbrick dares to push the Irish towards a full conference affiliation, he will be unemployed before it happens. If he doesn’t, he will likely see a steady downgrade of the non-football sports — including basketball — with diminished national conference association. Why? Oh, why couldn’t Pitt and Syracuse think of Notre Dame others?

Then there is poor, poor Texas. At least that’s the way they see themselves after the ACC didn’t bite and blocked them with Pitt and Syracuse.

That source said Texas’ top priority remains trying to hold the Big 12 together. But that option may have been dealt a blow with Pitt now appearing headed to the ACC. Pitt was a target of the Big 12 after it became clear Texas A&M wanted out of the league, sources have told Orangebloods.com.

Orangebloods.com caught up with Texas president Bill Powers outside the Rose Bowl Saturday, and Powers said, “We are not going to comment until all of this is over.”

Another Big 12 administrator told Orangebloods.com the ACC appears as if it is moving on without Texas in its plans.

That Big 12 administrator said the ACC is reluctant to bring in Texas for three reasons: 1) how the Longhorn Network would be worked into its revenue sharing; 2) that the ACC sees itself as an east coast conference and wants to protect that by not reaching into the southwest (no matter how much TV money adding Texas would mean); and 3) Texas indicated to the ACC it would need to bring Texas Tech with them to the ACC, and the ACC members were not excited about that because of Texas Tech’s academic standing (No. 160 in latest U.S. News and World Report).

Yes Texas spin is still going with that story line that Pitt was a Big 12 target. I suppose it was possible. It could explain why the ACC was so eager to accept Pitt. But, nah. Texas is more upset because they saw the ACC as their chance to get into a good conference and keep their Longhorn Network.

Multiple sources said Texas was banking on ESPN to make a marriage between the ACC and Texas that would allow the Longhorns to keep LHN. But that appears to have failed, the sources said.

Orangebloods.com was the first to report Saturday that the ACC was concerned about how LHN would fit into its revenue sharing; sees itself as an east coast conference and wasn’t interested in extending into the southwest (no matter how much TV money adding Texas would mean); and had concerns about the academics of Texas Tech, whom UT would be under pressure politically to bring with them wherever UT went.

UT president Bill Powers and athletic director DeLoss Dodds told people inside the athletic department last week the ACC was Texas’ best option if the Big 12 fell apart. Now, Texas is looking at the Pac-12.

Their grand dream of having ESPN bribe the ACC to accept the deal didn’t work. Now, despite all efforts to the contrary, Texas is inching closer to yielding on the Longhorn Network and going to the Pac-12/16.

If the Pac-16 does happen, then it becomes more likely that the ACC will not wait long to add two more teams of its own. Hello, UConn and Rutgers. Good to see you again.

Whatever happens now, though, for the first time in nearly a decade, Pitt has moved to solid conference footing.





Easily the most sane examination of the irrational hate filling the interwebs. Well done Chas.

Comment by GrahmnCheney2012 09.19.11 @ 1:15 pm

When BC, Miami and VT left the Big East, we called them ACC Holes!

Any idea on what we will be called?

Comment by Eric 09.19.11 @ 1:22 pm

Sweet post, Chas! Just what was needed to give me my fix for the day.

It looks like WV is SEC bound with Rutgers and UConn going with us. I really see the Catholic schools having no choice now but to run solo and will likely pull a few out of the A10 with the best TV markets (Xavier, UMass, Duquesne, St. Louis) in doing so.

If Rutgers and UConn stay maybe they give the football a go with Central FL and one of Villanova, Temple, Memphis) to get back to 8 assuming WVU goes.

Comment by FG 09.19.11 @ 1:24 pm

“But if Big East football collapses, there will be a lot of fingers pointing at one man” — pretty much says it all

Just heard more excerpts from Dixon’s presser. He seems pretty much at peace with it. Says he talked with TCU last night, and they admit TCU is still in a better position than they were a year ago.

He also said that he just returned from overseas (ddin’t specify) on a recutiting trip, which just empahsizes that his area is quite more expansive than just the NYC/NJ area,

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 1:27 pm

Great rundown, Chas. Hard to add anything to it.

Clearly, the Big East has only themselves to blame for all of this. The best way to deflect blame is to blame someone else. That’s what’s really going on here.

A year or two from now, who will care? We’ll be playing in much better football conference and the de facto best basketball conference in the country.

Hail to PITT! Hail to Pitt’s administration!

Comment by TampaT 09.19.11 @ 1:42 pm

Just thinking more..no way BE tries to give Football a go. It’s done. B12 still has a TV deal…Lsville and Cincinnati go there as does WV if they’re not SEC bound and TCU. Rutgers and UConn to ACC. Assuming Ok, OkS, Tex and TT go to PAC12 and Mizzou to SEC then B12 will pick up Houston and one other…Boise or Rice.

Comment by FG 09.19.11 @ 1:46 pm

This and the posts at Pitt Script tell it like it is! I guess that our yearly football game with Notre Dame will be a casualty of our move to the ACC. The ACC needs to get Rutgers right now before the Big Ten gets off their collective rear ends. This will seal the East Coast for the ACC. UConn would be the other school to go to sixteen but Rutgers is the key. This cuts off the East Coast expansion of the Big Ten as well as making an island of Penn State. PSU will be surrounded by a moat full of ACC teams. This will further continue PSU’s decline.

Comment by John In South Carolina 09.19.11 @ 1:53 pm

Dixon’s on board. If Jamie’s on board, we should all be on board. Read on:

link to pittsburghlive.com

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 09.19.11 @ 1:53 pm

Craig Littlepaige(UVA AD) on Jack Arute show explains that the ACC tourney will continue to move and Philly, Pittsburgh, Boston, and NYC are viable destinations. If they were smart they would have the ACC Football Championship in NYC. Dunlap tweets WVU applying to the SEC.

Comment by Freebird 09.19.11 @ 1:53 pm

“It`s not what conference we`re in. It`s up to us to be the best we can be.”

Once again, Jamie boils it down to the most important point. Hopefully, the football team follows that queue.

Comment by TampaT 09.19.11 @ 2:08 pm

I am curious if BC is holding up the UConn decision, assuming that they are a contender…

I see GameDay is going to WVU. Wouldn’t it be great to see how much class those guys have on National TV and ruin their chances for going to the SEC or elsewhere?

Comment by Yeti 09.19.11 @ 2:26 pm

Chas, nice post. The Big East blew it a long time ago after they invited Pitt and denied Penn State entry. Penn State was the standard bearer for eastern football. They killed the real possibilty of a legitmate northeastern all sports conference, because they were listinening to their basketball only members. When the defections of Boston College, Va Tech and Miami occured, Syracuse almost went with them. So what does the Big East do during the re-orginization they invite in another two “basketball only” teams, Depaul and Marquette. The Big East began as a basketball conference, and they never adequately addressed the needs of the multiple sport schools. A division between the two camps was inevitible. Chas’s comments about the entry of Temple as a football only member, when their basketball was the stronger program illustrates that point.

Comment by Justinian 09.19.11 @ 2:31 pm

Laughed my backside off at the ND AD comments last night. My vision of Dante’s seventh circle of hell involves ND and Texas playing each other every other weekend on their respective networks throughout the season. That vision is one step closer to reality today.

Spent this morning giggling at John in SC’s point, namely that JoePa’s dream of an Eastern Sports conference has at long last been realized…and that his large glasses are on the outside looking in.

Comment by Kevin in ABQ 09.19.11 @ 2:34 pm

Justinian, in 1982, there wasn’t even a thought that the BE would evolve into a football conference. At that time, the only 2 FB members were Syracuse and BC … that’s it!

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 2:46 pm

Wbb, actually bringing Pitt in was considered was considered a “block” to Joe Paterno’s proposed all-sports conference. The Big East, at the time, was afraid of losing Syracuse and Boston College. To make the all sports conference fly, Joe needed Pitt. As mush as I hate to say it, Joe was right on what he saw on the horizon. Tranghese stated at the time the Big East would one day rue that they didn’t admit Penn State.

Comment by Justinian 09.19.11 @ 3:02 pm

well, the all-sports conference had little to do with the Big East .. because with 6 of the 8 schools not playing football at the time, it sure was hell not going to start an all-sports conference that included FB

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:05 pm

further, if Pitt would have formed an all-sports cobference with PSU, in ni way, shape or form would they have ever reached the level of basketball it now enjoys .. they would have remained a mediorcre BB program, plus with the shift of football recruits to the south and southwest, Pitt would probably be totally engrossed in mediocrity right now.

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:08 pm

Wbb, You’re right about the timing, but they were concerned about loosing BC and Syracuse and that had a lot to do with inviting Pitt to join. Our basketball program wasn’t that strong in 1982.

Comment by Justinian 09.19.11 @ 3:15 pm

The ACC will not take WVU all 14 of there schools are in the top 101 ranking of colleges PITT is 58th Syracuse is 62 UCON is 59 this college ranking is very importent to them if you are not lower than 101 you dont get in the post that i read said WVU wont ever get in the ACC because of that ranking of the nations colleges.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 3:16 pm

FRANKCAM, agree on WVU. I read the the average ranking of the ACC in the latest ranings was 49th. Pitt & Cuse were actually below the norm but not that much. Duke, UNC, Virginia and Miami (yes, Miami) were all very highly ranked.

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:21 pm

P.S. – ACC had a higher average ranking than the B10.

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:23 pm

Amen, wbb. The late 70s / early 80s Pitt teams were stuck in the mire of the Eastern 8 and its Hoopster Rooster. Moving to the BE enabled the program to compete for guys like Charles Smith, Bobby Martin, etc.

Comment by Kevin in ABQ 09.19.11 @ 3:23 pm

I recommend a nice bottle of red and a good Cher cd for Marinatto to decompress.

Comment by Cool Hand Nuke 09.19.11 @ 3:29 pm

Ahhh, Chas, beautiful, beautiful. No, I haven’t let any of those outside people upset me.

Bottom line, we’re in!!! Beautiful!!!

Nice to be on the other end for a change, let em’ fire away all they want!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!

Woo hoo!!!!

As for Notre Dame, ya, that is embarrassing to Swarbuck and anyone listening, one of those comments that you just cringe when you hear it, “is he really saying that, please someone stop him” LOL

Chas, ND real problem is, they may need to go to one of the 4 power conferences. (still can’t believe we’re in one!!!!!)

I mean, this is going to change the BCS, and you think the 4 power conferences are going to go for the same old, “if Notre Dame is 8-4 or 9-3″ garbage, that ND gets an invite. Especially after spurnning some of these conferences.

I bet there will be some discussions on that!!

Oh, and poor, poor Texas. That was gonna be the one miniscule thing that would slightly bother me, is if Texas got into the ACC and brought their network. Even then, I’d take it, but, if Pitt and Syracuse has stopped that, fantastic.

Let em’ fire away Chas, when the music stops, we allready got our chair!!

Hail to Pitt!!!

Comment by Dan 09.19.11 @ 3:36 pm

Wbb that might be the average but one of ACCschools is number 101 and that was before they added us that is why 101 is the cut off point the next closest conference has 4 in top 101 all 14 of ACC ARE IN THE TOP IOI.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 3:44 pm

1) except for Syracuse, it was the non-FB schools that made the BE conference. In the 80s, Georgetown, Villanova, St John’s, Providence and Seton Hall all made the Final 4 (of course, GTown and Nova won it all)

2) ACC average academic ranking 49; B10 57
BE FB schools:
UConn / Pitt 58
Cuse / Rutgers 68
TCU 101
Cincy 143
UL 156
WVU 163

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:45 pm

Dan: Rest easy! There is zero chance that Texas is coming to the ACC. The ACC is looking to the northeast currently. Presently Rutgers is holding the best hand it will ever have. The ACC needs to get them on record as committing to them. There is no way that the Big Ten will go after UConn or any other remaining eastern school. If the future we (ACC) get Rutgers then the game is over for the Big Ten on the eastern front. With Texas and Oklahoma with two friends going to the new PAC 16 the only big fish left for the Big Ten is Notre Dame. Missouri and the rest are the leftovers.

Comment by John In South Carolina 09.19.11 @ 3:49 pm

FRANKCAM, both FSU and NC St were tied with a few others at 101

I omitted Wake (25), BC (31) GT (36) from my posting above of being highly ranked

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:49 pm

Just read that the 7 big east BB only schools are meeting today to talk abought splitting up with the big east football schools and to go there own way.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 3:49 pm

cirrection Cuse & Rutgers are tied at 62 with others

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:50 pm

Dixon is on The Fan right now and is downplaying the difference between BE and ACC style. Said that there is a handful of referees that work both conferences, and deosn’t foresee Pitt a drastic change in the way Pitt will play

Comment by wbb 09.19.11 @ 3:55 pm

Look ND could have saved big east bye joining in football they didet to selfilsh so screw them. And our AD and LUCK told Marinatto we need to expand in football a year ago but BB schools were afread they would be out voted and lose control of bigeast so screw them also.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 4:07 pm

When the ACC raided the Big East the first time it was about greed at a time of relative stability in the conferences. This time around, it is every school for themselves. It seems as if Texas and their greed in having the LHN ultimately pushed all of college sports to the brink in a need for each school to find stability. The ACC didn’t raid the BE this time. Pitt and Syracuse decided to protect themselves and not be left out in the cold after this whole thing melts down. Anyone who says that they were wrong for doing that is thinking with an outdated mindset. The chips were already falling. Everyone needs to do what they need to do to land safely.

Comment by kanyon40 09.19.11 @ 4:20 pm

Hooray for Pitt and Screw you!!! I don’t care what Louisville or ND or some underpaid sports writer thinks. Every single university is looking out for themselves and would do the exact same thing if they could. World is full of hypocrytes and any school AD who is bitching about the move is one. I’m damn happy we are looking out for ourselves for once.

Although I kind of feel bad for WVU. They are either left in the dust pan that is now the Big East or they become the next Mississippi St of the SEC.

Comment by OlivaPitt 09.19.11 @ 4:36 pm

Does anyone know the buy out in the Big Ten? The article below makes sense (and is also pure make believe) but could be an interesting alternative for the ACC.

link to foxsportssouth.com

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 09.19.11 @ 4:41 pm

Was just on a site called MR SEC they say WVU might not have a shot at SEC because the lowest ranked school in SEC is mississippi st at 151 and if they bought in WVU which ranks 164 it would drop the SEC even lower WVU only has a shot if they go to 16 if they stay at 14 they take Missouri.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 5:04 pm

There are varying schools of thought about UConn and Rutgers joining the ACC. One of the scenarios mentioned, about Texas and Texas Tech joining the ACC, looks to be as dead as dead can be. I think they will end up in the Pac 12 with OU and OSU. Notre Dame and Penn State would be a great coup for the ACC, but I do not see it happening. Penn State athletics are paralyzed because JoePa won’t retire. Notre Dame has not yet figured out that they can’t remain independent.

I think UConn and Rutgers will get invites. Rutgers will get an invite to shut out the Numerically Challenged Conference, and UConn will be school #16.

Notre Dame will beg Jim Delaney, and so will Missouri, and the NCC will stop at 14. The SEC will take WVU and stop at 14.

The Big East was never a cohesive, all for one organization. It is a hodgepodge of schools who had one thing in common – men’s basketball. Petty grudges and stupid politics doomed the BE years ago. The seeds were planted and now they are bearing fruit.

When the big conferences saw Penn State play Miami for the national championship after the 1986 season, they swore to themselves never to let that happen again – and they did not.

The leftover Big East football schools will have to join together with Temple, the remnants of the Big XII and Conference USA. Maybe they can resurrect the name of the old Metro Conference. Sucks to be them.

Maybe the Big East survives as a majority Catholic school basketball league. That is what it should have always been.

I’ll miss the old halcyon days of Big East basketball, but they are gone and not coming back.

Comment by Penguins Fan 09.19.11 @ 5:33 pm

NY Daily News Dick Weiss non football members of big east exploring options.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 5:50 pm

Still waiting patiently (yeah right) for a response from ESPN’s Little Dana (from Penn State) O’Neil to
my email to her. Since I wrote “you should be ashamed of yourself” at the end of the email… she must be !

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:01 pm

TCU coming East to play who? There won’t be anyone left in the East, if Uconn & Rutgers get an invite. The BigEast football conference would be dead and Marinatto will be quite happy. Providence, Seton Hall, Depaul, Villanova & the others can occupy ALL of his time then.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:05 pm

WVU’s entrance into the SEC (if that indeed happens) would be hindered by Texas A&M’s legal problems. If the SEC can’t add #13(until the Baylor block & other Dwarfs block is concluded), why would they add #14.

The Little 11 + 1 non-aau school, sits pat until ND’s hand is forced, since no one else really provides that much value.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:09 pm

Melvinbenett I think the ACC wants to see if kansas needs a home. If it does they pick between connecticut and rutgers for number 16. If kansas goes some were else than they take both rutgers and connecticut . I think they want kansas for basketball and as soon as they know than they move to 16.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 6:12 pm

There was supposed to be a big today meeting of the Texas Yahoos and the OU Okiebigshots. Anybody see anything on that yet?

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:27 pm

@Frank

Kansas? That’s a little west of the ACC’s footprint. PITT would be the closest school to them I guess, well maybe GT. Atlanta believe it or not is farther west than Pittsburgh.

That might signal that Rutgers thinks maybe they might get a L1G bid.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:32 pm

Yes both were given the power to look at outher conferences but the oklahoma pres has to come back for a vote if he wants to leave big 12 oklahoma also said they would stay in big 12 if ALL TV MONEY WAS SHARED EQUALLY. TEXAS will not agree to that i bet.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 6:34 pm

@FG

My understand of the Big 12 TV deal is:

If Texas and their dwarf TT & OU & their dwarf OSU flee for the PAC 12 (and all indications suggest that the details are being ironed out now), that huge current TV contract the Big 12 has with ESPN/Fox Sports will become null & void.

There is no way ESPN/Fox Sports is going to pay the Big 12 dwarfs $18-20 Million per year.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:39 pm

TT & OSU are lucky to have ‘Kings’ as friends. For with their tier 3 academics, they would be joining the others in some sort of Dwarf 8 conference.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:42 pm

Texas was in LA coincidentally playing(and destroying) UCLA over the weekend. Supposedly their Head Horn was in talks with the Pac 12 commish, Scott. According to Orangebloods (which I just read) that’s coming close to being a done deal.
The Longhorn Network will become the PAC Texas Network.

We need a Panther Network since according to all these media snipes, we are a major player and caused all of this. PANTHER NETWORK…PANTHER NETWORK !

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:49 pm

That was an attempt at a joke btw.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:50 pm

melvin do you see what oklahoma has done they have pushed every thing back on texas if texas shares the tv money thay stay if they wont and oklahoma leaves they can say texas killed the big 12.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 6:57 pm

If indeed the scenario laid out above comes into being, that would mean, there would only be the 2 other spots in the ACC available, the 4 in the SEC and the 4 in L1G (as opposed to the B1G, haha).

That’s only 10 spots for:

Kansas, KSU, ISU, Mizzou, Baylor, WVU, L-ville, USF, Cincy, TCU, Rutgers, Uconn, Boise State, BYU,
Notre Dame, SMU, Houston, ECU, UCF, Navy, AirForce, Army and the rest of conferences C-USA, Mountain West and the WAC.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 6:59 pm

@Frank

Yeah, now it’s like the ‘Blame Game’ and Texas was ‘It’ last year if the Big 12 imploded.

But hey you gotta remember, everything is PITT’s fault. Don’t you know.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:02 pm

The big problem I see for a lot of those schools listed, what value do most of them provide for the L1G and the SEC to further split their revenue pool.

The answer to that is zero to minimal.

(other than ND of course) Mizzou has St. Louis.
The rest are marginal at best.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:09 pm

melvinbennett did you see i answerd you abought the oklahoma meeting . and did you see why SEC might not take WVU.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 7:09 pm

The PG website has 3+ minutes of Dixon and Graham talking ACC. Nothing major, but Dixon doesn’t seem fazed, although he rarely does. Both coaches commended the administration for being diligent over the past 5 years and putting the University in the best position it could be.

link to multimedia.post-gazette.com

Comment by cnorwoodaz 09.19.11 @ 7:16 pm

Someone reported that G.W.Bush was with Nordy last friday. I think it was his fault!

Comment by CompLit 09.19.11 @ 7:18 pm

Yes Frank,

I read all the posts including yours, good observation. Hard to believe the academically challenged SEC would not want to add another like Tier 3 school. WVU, Cincy & L-ville could be in real trouble if the SEC does not want to go to 16.
Or if Mizzou lands in the SEC.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:18 pm

Or in the case of the trio mentioned, add more Tier 3 schools.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:19 pm

Melvinbennett Check this out college sports info bye matt pelogvin big east non football schools discussing split .

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 7:26 pm

Yeah I saw that on something I read today. Funny how they know their best interests so quickly. They don’t give a hoot about the remaining football schools and their current fellow conf. members.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:45 pm

link to mrsec.com

Found this on Mr. SEC . They rank 18 schools that might be possible SEC targets. WVU is dead last.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 7:47 pm

ND’s comments about thinking of the conference are a total joke. Had they joined the BE in football then I guarantee none of this would be happening.

Too bad, enjoy the Boring 10 er 12 in the Losers division.

Guess ND won’t be renewing the series with us after it expires…oh well.

Comment by upittman 09.19.11 @ 7:49 pm

Check out the big 12 Texas is saying oklahoma leave then they can blame you for killing the big 12 and oklahoma is saying no you leave then we can blame you . And A&M is saying i want to leave but baylor wont let me .For God sake somebody MAN UP. grow some balls and leave if you want to what wimps.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 7:51 pm

Texas may have to agree to something whether they like it or not at this point. I don’t think things have turned out for them the way they had envisioned. They still hold some cards, but not as many as they did a few days ago.

Comment by thestumper 09.19.11 @ 8:18 pm

The new big east in football or big 12 or what ever WVU Central fl NOVA TCU USF LS VILLE Cincinnati kansas st Iowa st Baylor. boy it would suck to be them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 8:19 pm

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports suggests ND should join the ACC. With PITT’s relationship with ND over the years that would make sense. Add in the fact ND is very popular in Boston & NY (Large Irish Populations) and BC & Syracuse are also in the ACC. Makes sense.

link to rivals.yahoo.com..G6vhXzyNnvevbYF?slug=dw-wetzel_notre_dame_should_jump_to_acc_091911

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 8:31 pm

Truly a fantastic post!

Comment by A 09.19.11 @ 8:43 pm

Melvinbennett notre dame will not join any one . I thought the part were i said someone in big 12 needs to man up and grow some balls was funny.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 8:50 pm

The addition of Notre Dame in all sports to the ACC would be great. That and Rutgers in the ACC would really do a number to the Big Ten. As for our relationship with Notre Dame, I think we are in the midst of a major domestic quarrel so now may not be a good time to try to reason with them.

Comment by John In South Carolina 09.19.11 @ 8:54 pm

Great freakin post. Enlightening and solid info.

Pitt had no choice. I believe they wanted the Big 10 but couldn’t afford to hold out when they may have been as low as #5 on the Big Ten wish list (Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse and Rutgers). Nordenberg is getting a ton of crap now but 1)this situation is totally different than 8 years ago, and 2) this is nothing compared to what he would have gotten had Pitt stayed put and rode the sinking ship all the way to a less-than-stellar Big 12.

The future of the ACC will bring an average-to-slightly above-average football conference (especially if they add UConn and Rutgers, bringing the average down a bit) and an unbelievable basketball conference. Which is essentially what the ACC has been for the past 30 years.

This also proves football outweighs everything else by several multiples.

Good move Chancellor….you took the heat for the betterment of your institution.

Comment by Antiguafor200Alex 09.19.11 @ 8:58 pm

If you go to the link below you can watch Coach Grahma’s weekly press conference. It has been available at Yahoo sports every week so far.

link to rivals.yahoo.com

Comment by John In South Carolina 09.19.11 @ 9:01 pm

Sorry for the fat fingers in the above post Coach Graham!

Comment by John In South Carolina 09.19.11 @ 9:02 pm

It feels awfully good NOT to be one of the ‘leftovers’ as Mr.Sec calls it.

An interesting read indeed:

link to mrsec.com

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 9:11 pm

Not sure if anyone has listened to Mike Tranghese on ESPN tonight but he is killing me. He talks about being embarrassed by all that is going on but not once offers any kind of idea of should/could have been done. He whines it is all about each school looking out for them selves and more than anything GREED. Well NO DUH. He talks integrity so since when is looking out for yourself losing integrity. BTW if he had any integrity he would have fessed up about the Backyard Brawl 13-9 when the refs tried to give the game to WVU. Marinotti blew it as the Big East could have been saved if he had any vision what so ever. A lot of what seems to be out there is sour grapes if you are on the outside looking in. Not sure how much credit Pederson gets in all this but kudos to he and Nordenberg for not sitting on their butts and waiting. I have both season BB and FB tickets and if you are not excited about seeing UNC and Duke at the Pete someone better check for a pulse.

HAIL TO PITT!!!!

Comment by giveitarest 09.19.11 @ 9:12 pm

MelvinB. I can’t see the remaining Big East football schools trying to make a go of it with the basketball schools. They’ll go to the Big 12 and band together with football schools. Of course the existing deal will be negotiated but I’m sure they’ll still have a Fox deal. Big 12 = WVU or Missouri (whichever does not go to SEC…my guess is WVU is not going per Mr. SEC logic), TCU, South Florida, Lsville, Cincinnati, KS, KSU, Baylor, Iowa St., BYU, Boise, Houston…something like that. Enough to keep the BCS in and I could see MW perhaps becoming an AQ conference since BE is out.

Comment by FG 09.19.11 @ 9:37 pm

While my main rooting interest is Pitt, I also have an interest in TCU and Baylor. I was hoping to see Pitt on a regular basis here in the Fort Worth area. Anyway, my prediction is that the Big 12 and BE leftovers will indeed merge. And I think the BE basketball schools will separate from the pack, but will still retain the name “Big East.”
But as it pertains to the “leftover league,” I don’t see why it’s all that bad. UCF has deserved AQ status for a while, based on their immense resources, market, and potential. So if a league ends up being TCU, Ville, Cincy, WVU, USF, UCF, Kansas, K State, Baylor, and Iowa State… well it’s certainly not any worse than what the BE looks like right now in football (without TCU just yet). Furthermore, the leftover league could offer AQ status to BYU, and then add perhaps Houston to get to 12. So I don’t think WVU really falls on its face the way we think they would. They’d be in a winnable league, but still one with solid football and really good hoops. Plus inroads to Texas and Florida. I’m sure we can all chuckle at WVU getting left out, but it’s not really a doomsday scenario compared to what they have at the moment.

Comment by Lollard 09.19.11 @ 9:44 pm

Let me put it this way it sucks to be rutgers and connecticut banging on the door hopeing some one lets them in and it really sucks to be WVU who cant even see a door. but oh my it fills good to have goin thru the door and to be inside like PITT screw them all we are in the ACC we got our seat at the big dance.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 9:48 pm

But to tell the truth i do fell bad for WVU i was hopeing they could go to the SEC i would have benn pissed if they went to sec and we stayed in big east . But now i feel bad for them.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.19.11 @ 9:59 pm

Nice piece that makes a ton of sense but very unlikely. How nice would that be? Schedule WVU non-con and we’re in dream land…

link to foxsportssouth.com

Comment by FG 09.19.11 @ 10:20 pm

BTW if he had any integrity he would have fessed up about the Backyard Brawl 13-9 when the refs tried to give the game to WVU.
Comment by giveitarest 09.19.11 @ 9:12 pm

You’ve got to be kidding me !

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 10:43 pm

@ FG,

I’m thinking the Big 4 will have 2 BCS slots each.
Don’t know about the MWC, and whoever else.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 10:46 pm

honestly I think WVU knows where it’s going already.

WVU has been extremely quiet during this whole thing.

It would be odd to not hear them scream bloody murder if they were afraid of being left out in the cold.

They have a home somewhere, my guess is the SEC is a done deal.

DaveD

Comment by DaveD 09.19.11 @ 11:02 pm

@DaveD

According to sources WVU was one of 10 teams that applied to the ACC and of course they said…

Thanks, but no thanks.

Don’t think the SEC is a done deal, from what I’ve read. WVU would be the worst academic school in the SEC (hard to believe, with those schools). Also they don’t bring many TV sets, no recruiting area and it’s not a major media market.

Comment by melvinbennett 09.19.11 @ 11:36 pm

I just want to make a point that I think no one has made yet. If the BE is going to merge with the Big12 remnants or any other leftovers (KU, KSU, ISU, Miz, ECU, UCF, etc), that is going to happen in less than 27 months. There is no way they let Pitt and ‘Cuse hang around while they try to make new divisions and make schedules. I predict Pitt will be in the ACC next year. At the latest, 2013. No way it ever gets to 2014.

Comment by The Incline 09.19.11 @ 11:40 pm

@The Incline, (btw are you the Mon Incline or the Duquesne Incline?)

Agree, the BigEast(football) conference won’t be around in 27 months, therefore PITT will be in the ACC earlier than the 27. Also I wonder if the BigEast football doesn’t exist, do we stll have to pay the $5 million exit fee?

Comment by melvinbennett 09.20.11 @ 1:05 am

@melvinbennett,

You could be right, I just would’ve expected a lot more negativity coming from Morgantown than we are hearing.

That makes me think they got something going on.

DaveD

Comment by DaveD 09.20.11 @ 1:39 am

I just would’ve expected a lot more negativity coming from Morgantown than we are hearing.

That makes me think they got something going on.

DaveD

Trust me, they are crying down there. My brother in law is a hoopie and he has been texting me since Saturday. He is literally sick to his stomach, unable to eat, unable to sleep. He is terrified that WVU is getting screwed- as are the WVU message boards, according to him. And their academics really are a problem. I think it is probably more than just academics. Look at their basketball coach- Bob Thuggins. Next to Calipari, he is the most hated coach by the entire NCAA. Then their football coach has made quite a name for himself as a drinker. Not really the best PR when trying to align with a conference like the ACC that cares about reputation.

Comment by kanyon40 09.20.11 @ 2:05 am

wow, one heck of an article. great detective work. plain as day when you take the time to slow down, look at the facts and realise that those who criticize are probably kicking themselves for not making this move themselves. The BE in football had no weight to throw around, and no bowls or money to offer decent teams, so this is a great proactive move.

Comment by dbicker 09.20.11 @ 7:06 am

Heard Mike DeCourcy on the Fan last night. He may be a good basketball writer, but is dead wrong on his assertion that this is the beginning of the end for Pitt hoops.

His basic argument is; Pitt rose to prominence in college hoops because of (in order) “The brilliance of Jamie Dixon, The Pete and The Big East.” – TRUE, and let’s give Howland some credit too.

He goes on to say that moving to the ACC would, or at least could, cause Jamie Dixon to become less attached to Pitt and to be more apt to look at other opportunities. – FALSE, he presented NO EVIDENCE or REASONING as to why that would be.

He went on to say that being in the Big East was great for recruiting and the ACC might not be. – FALSE, Jamie and his staff are GREAT at finding players who fit at Pitt and who they can convince to come here. When Slice left, all the national writers were sure Pitt recruiting would take a hit because we wouldn’t own the Bronx anymore. How did that work out? Kids want to win, be on TV and have a shot at the pro’s. With Pitt and the ‘cuse, the ACC leaps the Big East as the BEST basketball conference in the NCAA, period. No negative impact on recruiting.

There is no reason to think moving to the ACC will negatively impact Dixon’s job satisfaction at Pitt. Jamie has about the best situation imaginable at Pitt. The pipe is full of talent, he has great facilities, he’s in a great conference and he has the support of the administration. Why would he leave? But SMug Smile Steve and Nordy better BUCK UP and pay Dixon with some of their new ill gotten financial gains – just to be sure.

For the record, Big East basketball is one of the best things in all of sports. Seeing it be dismantled and Pitt/Cuse no longer be a part of it is really sad.

But it isn’t the end of Pitt Hoops as we know it.

Comment by boubacar aw 09.20.11 @ 11:12 am

I like the move better by the day because I think that there is a chance that PSU could be coming into the ACC with us. The Big Ten will keep going to the Midwest and they might lose financially in the short term, in the long term we might be able to surpass the Big Ten TV contract. Plus throw in the fact that Swarbrick just said that the ACC is more attractive to them and things r looking so good right now.

Comment by Alex P 09.20.11 @ 11:22 am

Alex ps would never leave big 10 get over your dream.

Comment by FRANKCAN 09.20.11 @ 12:56 pm

WVU is paying the price for its academic ranking. One reason is that they take in state students over out of state, even if they are not qualified, especially at grad school level.
Also would love to see ND shut out, if they had come into Big East as full member, I think it could have survived and drawn more quality schools in, but they had to keep their network going, and basically said screw you to the conference, I would have kicked them out for bball a long time ago.

Comment by Jimbo 09.20.11 @ 1:08 pm

Army & Navy to ACC!

Comment by Justin 09.21.11 @ 3:23 am

[…] doubt it. Just as silly scare articles from some last year about how Pitt basketball could suffer with a move to the ACC, were too conclusory or trying to make too broad a […]


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