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September 20, 2011

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto finally staggered out of his darkened office. A paperweight was embedded in his computer, and empty bottles of wine lay strewn about the office. He spoke to the New York Times about some things.

Marinatto said in a telephone interview that he planned to hold Syracuse and Pittsburgh to their 27-month contractual exit obligations, meaning that they would not be able to leave the Big East until June 2014.

This was expected. There was no way the Big East was just going to tell Pitt and Syracuse to just go on their merry way. No hard feelings. Simply put, this was the opening of negotiations for Pitt and Syracuse to leave the Big East. You don’t concede your biggest piece of leverage in negotiations at the start. Not even John Marinatto and the Big East do that.

Pitt and Syracuse know they are going to have pay more than simply $5 million to walk away. At a minimum they will probably have to forfeit their share of TV money for this year as well. Other valuable items up for negotiation will include their percentage of money the conference receives for NCAA Tournament appearances — actually quite lucrative after this past year’s run by UConn and all the teams that made it to the Tourney. As well as their cut from the BCS and bowl games.

One other reason not to sweat the Big East threat, is that there might not be a Big East by next year. The Big East football schools and Big 12 leftovers are talking merger — more likely under the rubric of the Big 12. This makes sense since they have a new TV deal — that may be renegotiated but better than the Big East’s and they have the Fiesta Bowl affiliation along with better bowl affiliations.

But back to Marinatto who continues to put on the brave face of delusion.

“We have a track record of coming out stronger than we did before,” Marinatto said, referring the A.C.C.’s raid of three Big East teams in 2003. “We may even hold the opening round of our basketball tournament in Greensboro,” a frequent site of the A.C.C. tournament, he said in jest.

With the departure of Syracuse and Pitt, the Big East is down to 7 teams in football and 15 in basketball, including Texas Christian, which arrives next year.

Of course if the merger with the Big 12 falls apart, TCU might be better served going back to the Mountain West — which would welcome them back since it would probably get them that AQ bid.

Marinatto also deflected blame from himself for the bad state of the Big East. Syracuse bloggers, dispute his notion.

What he’s never understood is that perception is reality, and in today’s wild west, no holds barred conference landscape, that’s never been more true. Right now conferences will beg, borrow and steal to protect their futures and line their pockets and John Marinatto is the last guy you want protecting your back.  I wouldn’t leave John Swofford alone in a room with my wife for two seconds, but I’d let her go snorkeling in Aruba with Big John.

If he had done anything at all to try and correct the perception that he was weak, he might have had a chance. If he hadn’t found out his conference was getting raided from a member of the media, he might have had a chance.  Love him or hate him, Tranghese was respected by others through the sheer force of his personality.  If Marinatto had projected one-tenth the amount of strength of his predecessor, things might be different.

Ah, Tranghese. Fresh off his successful consulting gig with Memphis. How’d that work to get Memphis into the Big East a BCS conference go?

Mike Tranghese was in demand with the Big East about to go boom.  He did TV with ESPN. Radio with a NYC blowhard.  Tranghese, proceeded to crap on everyone. He doesn’t believe Jim Boeheim, Jim Calhoun and Jamie Dixon will ever coach in the ACC. He then proceeded to rip Big East football as a whole.

“The bottom line is that the Big East’s problem has always been that they’re just not good enough in football. That made them vulnerable, even though the league became, without question, the best basketball league in the country.

“But all of this expansion has to do with football and money.”

And football has been the one thing that Tranghese has never handled well.  On the Banks (Rutgers) has much more of the outrage than I can muster towards Tranghese. Then again, for some reason he put himself through actually listening to the interview.

BECAUSE YOU INVITED THE 2003 ACC RAID BY TRYING TO DESTROY BIG EAST FOOTBALL IN 1998, YOU CORRUPT, LYING BUFFOON! GAVITT EXPLICITLY FORMED THE LEAGUE TO STRANGLE JOE PATERNO’S ALL SPORTS CONFERENCE IN ITS CRIB! Football runs the roost because football produces more revenue than basketball, which is clear to anyone who doesn’t think that Led Zeppelin is at the cutting edge of rock music. How wonderful is it that we’ll soon be able to recall the two Mikes’ dream conference in the past tense?

The most telling thing from the interview was Tranghese being asked if he would help the Big East right now in its time of need.

Tranghese: Well my, my, the one person (sic) I’m gonna help is Providence College…

In other words, what he and the Big East offices have been doing for 30 plus years.

Pitt Script has some good comments on the issue. As does Paul Zeise.

Army & Navy to ACC!

Comment by Justin 09.21.11 @ 3:26 am

I guess they don’t want the ugly warts on Texas and Oklahoma’s asses riding their coattails to the Pac-12.

I hope the ACC still goes to 16 and brings on UCONN and another Big East football school. Pitt needs some familiar buddies in the conference.

Comment by Chris 09.21.11 @ 5:08 am

Kanyon 40, your responses are spot on.

I believe it’s pretty cut and dry.

Comment by Dan 09.21.11 @ 9:11 am

Kanyon, there are two sports that I have an interest in watching and following: Pitt football and Pitt basketball. With regard to football, I really don’t care what league Pitt is in; however, a BE game is usually televised here in Jersey. Accordingly, my guess is that I see more Pitt games on TV than I am going to see when they are in the ACC. Also, Pitt plays at Rutgers every two years and I go to the games and the associated Pitt events. It looks like that is going to end.

With regard to BB, Pitt’s games (and the BE’s games) are on very frequently in the NYC area. My guess is that I am going to see them on TV far less frequently. When they are not on, generally Rutgers, UConn, Seton Hall, St. John’s, etc. are on. I would much rather watch one of those games than, say, Wake Forest v. FSU. Pitt BB in the ACC instead of Pitt BB in the BE, to me, is a real bummer.

When BC, VT, and Miami bolted, Syracuse was to go with them. They were stopped because of the efforts of Jim Boeheim. I guess he lost his veto power. Although Jamie generally spoke the company line, he is not a happy camper. As far as some other teams would have gone to the ACC if Pitt and Syracuse did not, so be it. The BE currently has eight teams in a football league that draw my interest. If they lost two teams other than Pitt and Syracuse, the BE would still have eight teams with the addition of UCF. The league would still have my interest. I am one of the few on this blog who is not excited (make that who is not happy) with Pitt bolting.

Comment by BigGuy 09.21.11 @ 10:12 am

Big Guy,
This is a case of damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. The Big East as you/we know it was going to change whether Pitt “bolted” or not. As has been stated — if it wasn’t Pitt it was going to be Rutgers, or UConn, or someone else. So to lament the death of the Big East and lay it at Pitt’s feet is a shortsighted view. I am going to miss the Big East too, but as a Pitt fan I am happy with the ACC move in that I know that Pitt is entering a more stable situation and will have a seat at the Division I football table for the foreseeable future. That is not certain with the remainder of the Big East.

Comment by JCE 09.21.11 @ 10:41 am

Big Guy — one other thing……you may yet see Rutgers and UConn join the ACC, in which case your TV watching concerns should be resolved! So I guess you can keep your fingers crossed for that!

Comment by JCE 09.21.11 @ 10:45 am

Great interview with Jim Boeheim about the BE and move to the ACC. Pretty much blasted the BE and leadership saying SU and Pitt have long been disappointed in the conference. He then lashed out at ND saying they only took from the conference, using it, while adding nothing to it.

Comment by Pitt it Is 09.21.11 @ 10:46 am

BigGuy–Syracuse not going to the ACC last time wasn’t because of Boeheim, although he was opposed to the move to be sure. It was because the governor of Virginia nixed it by requiring the University of Virginia to vote no on ACC expansion unless Virginia Tech was included. So, virginia tech was taken instead of Syracuse.

Comment by pitt1972 09.21.11 @ 10:53 am

FRANKCAN — no disrespect intended, but I have to say that your posts are very difficult to read. Run on sentences, no punctuation or capitalization, misspelling, etc…. I tend to skip many of your posts for this reason. However, I did see that you have made multiple comments saying you said something in a previous post that people missed. This may be why. You are obviously a big Pitt fan, thus a welcome part of the conversation. I would like to read what you have to say without bending my brain! 🙂

Comment by JCE 09.21.11 @ 10:57 am

Don’t disagree. The big hangup is TLN. No one, even the current Big 12 members, really want that hanging over them. Texas either needs to forget it or go the Notre Dame route. I think the PAC12 would change their minds on expansion if either happened.

FRANKCAN has explained many times that his mind works better and faster than his fingers. I think he’s even been trying some online typing lessons I sent him, and he does try his best to slow down most of the time. We’ve all learned to live with his typing, because he has good info, he’s a good guy, and he loves Pitt.

Comment by TampaT 09.21.11 @ 11:19 am

pitt72, I can’t take exception to your suggestion that it was either VT or Syracuse to the ACC and not both, because my memory (research) is not that good. If you are correct, than it came down to a choice of BC or Syracuse to the ACC. The Point, Counter-point link on the other thread, I believe, is germane. Pitt is a major fish in the BE. That is reality. Pitt may or may or may not be significant in the ACC. We will have to wait about five years for clues to find out if Pitt will sit next to BC in the “Who cares?” column.

Should Rutgers go to the ACC, it would make Pitt’s move more palatable to me; however, I question if Rutgers will. My guess is that some current teams (FSU, Clemson) will have to bolt the ACC to make room. Then Rutgers will have to decide if it really wants to leave behind its rivalries in BB with Seton Hall and St. John’s. Personally, I believe that the BE is currently shell-shocked; however, it will survive and will be viable. Apparently, Oklahoma and Texas have nowhere to go; so the Big 12 may also survive,

Comment by BigGuy 09.21.11 @ 11:20 am

Tampa — I would say that SOME have learned to live with the typing. No denying that he loves Pitt. I try to read most of his posts, but give up once I have to start over too many times. My loss? Maybe. Just saying — if he is wondering why he has to repeat himself, this is a good reason why. It takes only seconds to proofread. It’s not even the typing really. A bit more punctuation would do it. I don’t want to harp on it though. He is free to do as he wishes. Just making a suggestion to a fellow Pitt fan. Not meant to be hostile.

Comment by JCE 09.21.11 @ 12:05 pm

Today the SEC is denying all the reports about Mizzou and the PAC12 is denying that they are even interested in further expansion at this point…Which means absolutely nothing to me

Comment by BCPITT 09.21.11 @ 12:20 pm

Frankcan, don’t change a thing. Those that have been on here for years understand about the emotion going faster than the fingers.

You keep on posting, and posting often Frank!!!

Like you said last night, “it may be hell to get old”, but, I told you, we’ll still be in the ACC when you wake up!!!

Comment by Dan 09.21.11 @ 12:54 pm

Didn’t read your comments as hostile. Just knew that FRANKCAN has explained this before and was trying to save him from more typing to say the same thing over again.

Comment by TampaT 09.21.11 @ 12:58 pm

JCE, I think I know those initials. Think we went to school together. Just to make sure it’s you, send me an email when you get a chance to make sure it’s you.

Talk you ya, Dan

Comment by Dan 09.21.11 @ 1:01 pm

Dan — Been on here for years too. When I started coming here 10 posts would have been considered a lot of comments on a blog entry! This place has really blown up (which is a good thing.) However, I think you have me confused with someone else.

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