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October 12, 2011

Big East Infighting Continues

Filed under: Big East,Conference,Money — Chas @ 9:23 pm

I feel a little conflicted. As a Pitt guy, I know it is in Pitt’s best interest to get out of the Big East and to the ACC ASAP. Unfortunately, it increasingly appears that the only way that can happen is for the Big East to die, and die soon.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no sympathy for the Big East itself. Nor is this about the basketball schools. My conflicted feelings are for the football programs that will beleft behind. The ones that have no where to go or will have to wait and sweat a while. The ones that are just there waiting for the Sword of Damocles hanging over their head to fall and strike them down

We have been sweating this out for years. When the Big East was raided in 2003, it has been a countdown for when the end would come. It has lasted longer than expected. The conference Pitt is heading to is different from expected in 2003, but Pitt is moving on. Meanwhile, the Big East fault lines are being laid bare.

For yet another day, the Big East tried to have a meeting to discuss getting new members and other issues. And for yet another day, nothing came of it.

Why? Because the split in the interests have things as paralyzed as anything we have seen in Washington D.C. over the summer.

All of this uncertainty, which has been dominated by arguments between the basketball and football factions of the Big East, has slowed the talk of expansion, if not stopped it.

At yesterday’s meeting, potential candidates such as Boise State, Central Florida and Temple were discussed, but no consensus could be agreed upon which teams to invite first, or at all.

The basketball factions were adamant about not adding anyone, while the football faction argued that if the Big East is going to survive as a BCS conference, whose champion gained automatic entry to a BCS bowl it is imperative for Boise State, with its high national ranking was a necessity for survival.

The basketball schools have locked in to the issue of raising exit fees first. This is obviously a non starter with Louisville, Rutgers, WVU and UConn at the moment. The Big 12 expansion has Louisville and WVU waiting. UConn wants to go so badly. Rutgers wants options. Heck, arguably Notre Dame wouldn’t want any higher fees considering some other scuttlebutt…

But if Missouri leaves — and as of this morning the prevailing theory was that the Tigers were still focused on joining Texas A&M as the 13th and 14th members of the SEC — the Big 12 would make a move to go from 9 to 12 teams with Big East members Louisville and West Virginia as the prime schools on their wish list. Such a move might also happen even if Missouri remains.

The SEC might have one back up plan if Missouri decides to stay. Word is spreading throug the SEC that Clemson may come into play as team No. 14.

The Tigers are more of an SEC fit than ACC fit in many ways. If that happens, the ACC will be forced to go for a 14th team. The first choice would be Notre Dame, but if the Irish still want to remain as an independent than UConn comes into the picture.

Not really buying Clemson to the SEC. Yes it is a cultural fit (but then so would WVU), but the SEC is already in South Carolina. It isn’t exactly a major market that they need or have to solidify. Nor is Clemson some sort of national brand — like Nebraska to the Big 10 — that makes much sense.

Still, if — and it’s a big if –the scenario of the Big 12 taking Louisville and WVU and the ACC needing a new 14th came to pass — whether ND finally surrenders or the ACC just goes with UConn/Rutgers. Then the Big East is done with football and Pitt is free.

Cinci and USF have done nothing wrong. In fact they have worked hard to be players in the Big East. They have invested in their programs. They have made good hires. They are screwed. At best they are back to Conference USA, splitting really low TV money and getting the occasional game on CBS College Sports Network.

UConn is potentially screwed as is Rutgers. Maybe eventually they get into another conference. But they don’t know when or how. Even worse, is their status in the next two to five years. That just sucks.

UPDATE: If you have any doubt about the fault-lines being laid bare. This article should put that to bed.

•?Though Boise State is the Big East’s best chance to retain its automatic bid to the BCS when the next evaluation period comes up in 2014, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida are lukewarm to the idea.

And Boise won’t commit to the league until the six holdover football schools do;

•?The basketball schools proposed doubling the exit penalty to $10 million while also asking for a 15-year commitment. The football schools have flatly rejected that, causing a bigger fissure between the two sides;

•?Villanova spent part of yesterday’s conference call undermining Temple as an expansion candidate, saying it would accept the Owls as a football member only. The football schools want Temple as an all-sports addition;

•?The football schools are trying to put together an expansion plan that meets with approval from the basketball schools, since DePaul’s vote on any proposal counts as much as West Virginia’s (or Rutgers’).


Chas, you are very well-connected with other Big East bloggers…do you see a branching out to those in the ACC, and if so, will you wait until Pitt and Syracuse are actually playing games, or what? What can we expect?

Comment by Lou 10.12.11 @ 9:40 pm

Well said. I also feel bad for the schools left dangling in the wind. The onus is really on the SEC right now. Once they decide who they want for #14, the Big 12 can make a decision and then the Big East can formally split leaving ND to make the ultimate sacrifice…Independence. Until the SEC moves, a lot of schools, students and fans are just left wondering whats next.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.12.11 @ 9:43 pm

This stuff is nauseating.

Comment by H.Land Pitt 10.12.11 @ 10:21 pm

Sorry guys, but if you believe in Capitalism, well this is CAPITALISM. And if socialism is your gig, well move to Russia.

You wimps worried about schools ‘dangling in the wind’, need to obtain some cajoles. Or get a sexchange.

Comment by EMel 10.12.11 @ 10:26 pm

The Big East is like the family in Chekov’s “Cherry Orchard” they talk and talk and end up doing nothing. Everyone knows what needs to done, yet no one acts and they lose everything.

After reading Chas’ link, I think there is little hope for the Big East surviving as anything more than a baskeball league. The football and basketball schools are still dead locked over turf.

Comment by Justinian 10.12.11 @ 10:31 pm

Not to appear as a Brown noser. That was an excellent piece Chas. You know my grandfather was named Chas. And he was a righteous dude.

Comment by EMel 10.12.11 @ 10:31 pm

EMel, That’s ok, brown nosers get the better grades.

Comment by Justinian 10.12.11 @ 10:35 pm

Sucks for Cincy and South Florida. Hopefully a 16 team playoff eventually arrives and all 11 conferences get an automatic bid.

Comment by Chris 10.12.11 @ 10:50 pm

As odd as it feels to write this, I would actually feel bad for WVU if they get left out as well. So yeah, if I feel bad for them, then I’d really feel bad for USF and the others.

Comment by Lollard 10.12.11 @ 10:54 pm

Missouri fits more in the ACC then it does in the SEC i am not saying they want to go to ACC just saying they fit better there.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.12.11 @ 11:07 pm

PITT and the orange still have a vote in every thing that the big east does for the next 2 years as long as they are there is this true?

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.12.11 @ 11:17 pm

No. Pitt and Cuse have no say in Big East actions.

Until Pitt is actually gone from the Big East, I really won’t be too focused on ACC blogger stuff. I’ll keep tabs, but since they don’t directly impact Pitt yet, it is a bit premature.

Comment by Chas 10.12.11 @ 11:30 pm

The ACC should stick to the east coast. Missouri is not a good fit for the ACC. I feel for WVU as hard as that may seem. They are the one remaining team that may have a hard time finding a logical home. I do not consider the Big 12 a logical home for them. That will entail lots of travel for all their sports. UConn and Rutgers are going either to the ACC or the Big Ten in the long run. The former conference USA teams will have to go back to their old conference with the exception of Louisville. Hopefully they can strengthen it to qualify for BCS status in the long run. That is their best hope.

As for Clemson going to the SEC, I think South Carolina will fight against that with a passion. Clemson belongs in the ACC. Their students actually go to classes.

Comment by John In South Carolina 10.12.11 @ 11:25 pm

I think we pull for the rivals because in a sense they bring real excitement and give us a real passion for the game. I would never wish bad things on WVU, we have a lot of history on them and to play them as such is something special.

Penn State on the other hand, can rot in hell. They are the breaker of rivalries, tradition and spirited football.

Comment by Benzene 10.12.11 @ 11:45 pm

John what i was thinking was that missouri fit as a culture not the east coast thing hell they dont belong in mississippi eather but thats were they will be playing.

They would be more of a academic fit in the ACC then the SEC. not saying they will go there.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.12.11 @ 11:48 pm

CHAS if they are making us stay we should have a vote i dont doubt you but i dont understand how they can do that. please explain

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.12.11 @ 11:53 pm

Chas thanks for all the hard work you put into this blog it means a lot to this old man.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.13.11 @ 12:01 am

Well good night to you all
May god walk with you all and keep you safe,

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.13.11 @ 12:05 am

It’s amazing to me the Big East stayed together as long as it did.

When the final epithet is written for the Bug East, it will be Providence and Villanova revealed as the true selfish villians, not John Swofford.

Comment by ECH 10.13.11 @ 7:05 am

On a positive note, there is a PG article today stating that all sources are indicatig that Rushel Shell will commit to Pitt in a presser tomorrow am. That will give Pitt a Top 190 QB and RB in the incoming class.

ECH, poignant comment

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 7:50 am

correction “that will give Pitt a Top ’10’ QB and RB in the incoming class”

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 7:52 am

I feel pretty confident about Shell coming to Pitt. Word circulating around the Beaver Valley area is that he wants to stay close to home. Heard that when I was up there for the USF game a couple of weeks ago from some pretty reliable sources.

Comment by TampaT 10.13.11 @ 8:08 am

Plus, if Ray G. does bolt for the NFL as many expect, Shell has a chance to step in as the starter as a Freshman to continue Pitt’s string of great running backs. He may not get the same opportunity at Alabama with all the depth they usually have.

Comment by TampaT 10.13.11 @ 8:12 am

Chas, FWIW, I share your feelings of reluctance for leaving the other football members of the BE … even the Hoopies (or maybe especially the Hoopies since the ‘Backyard Brawl’ is recognized nationally as a legit rivalry game.

I can care less if BE FB survives but hope that WVU, Louisville, Cincy, UCF and UConn end up alright … for some reason, I can care less about Rutgers and assure you that it has nothing to do with last Saturday.

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 8:13 am

Would you feel conflicted if WVU & SF bolted for the SEC and left us “dangling in the wind?” For once our school makes the first move and we feel guilty? I sure as heck don’t.

Comment by Yeti 10.13.11 @ 8:42 am

wbb, I agree – for some reason I lump Rutgers in with the basketball schools and just don’t care what happens to them.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 10.13.11 @ 8:44 am

I don’t think Pitt has anything to apologize about. West Virginia was talking to the SEC over the summer before the Big 12 expressed their interest in Pitt and long before the ACC went after Syracuse and Pitt. It’s naive to think that the other Big East schools wern’t exploring their options with all the expansion disscussion going on. No one fought harder than Nordy to keep things together when the last expension happened. I think this time around the Pitt people realized that the Big East was a sinking ship and that they needed a lifeboat.

Comment by Justinian 10.13.11 @ 9:07 am

Well said, Yeti. WVU and SF would not care about us andthey will find a place to land. The only ones I care about are UCONN and Buttgers and that’s because of their proximity to NYC. By the way…Are you the furry man from Waynesburg Yeti?

Comment by The Hagen 10.13.11 @ 9:08 am

After what Louisville’s AD said about Pitt, I lump them in with the basketball schools and hope they’re left hanging. It feels weird hoping the Hoopies end up in good shape though.

Comment by mjb 10.13.11 @ 9:12 am

after the 1st ACC raid and especially after 04 after an undeserving Pitt team got killed in the Fiesta Bowl, theyre were a lot of skeptics about the BE. WVU and Louisville came to the rescue, especially WVU’s win over Georgia in 05 Sugar Bowl, which BTW is the last time an SEC champ was beaten in a BCS game.

Rutgers also had its 15 minutes .. with its 3 best years in their history. Since then, the whole conference has been prety much a trainwreck … even Kelly’s teams at Cincy were pasted in their two BCS games.

The sad fact is that Pitt and Cuse, with their histories, did not step up … and it’s not only Wanny; as you all know, Pitt has had some good teams but has never really a produced a legit BCS team in the entire history of BE FB which began 20 years ago.

This is part of the reason of my reluctant feelings .. and feel fortunate to escape all of the madness.

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 9:30 am

Maybe Nordenberg’s commitment to pay the new coaching staff market rates (remember, the previous staff was the lowest paid in the BE), along with the increased revenue with joining the ACC may begin another re-birth … similar to the new commitment (at that time) of the admin when Majors was hired in ’73 .. we can only hope

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 9:35 am

Mjb, Louisville will jump the moment they get an offer from the Big 12. Which I expect to happen if Missouri goes to the SES or if they decisde to go the 12 eams. Their AD’s harsh words were only “sour grapes.” Pitino has been speaking out because he loves New York and being in the lime lite of Madison Square Garden. Regardless they will accept the bid from the Big 12, if it’s offered.

Comment by Justinian 10.13.11 @ 10:03 am

FWIW .. Dante Taylor is scheduled to be interviewed during noon hour today on 93.7 The Fan

Comment by wbb 10.13.11 @ 10:49 am

Nova is blocking temple BB schools fighting with FB schools they should just blow the whole thing up no leader ship what a mess but we are in the ACC enough said.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.13.11 @ 11:28 am

Great blog Chas. The dysfunctional BE needs to explode. The FB schools cannot continue to survive in a conference with so many BB/no FB schools. There is too much conflict of interests. BE FB schools should be meeting with other FB schools (i.e. Boise St, Temple, UCF, etc) and form their own conference.

Comment by jw in raleigh 10.13.11 @ 11:49 am


Comment by H.landPitt 10.13.11 @ 12:02 pm

Wassup Yeti!

I do not feel bad for WVU at all. They made their bed, now they can lie in it (probably with their sister). The reason WVU hasn’t already bolted the Big East for the SEC or the ACC (and left the rest of us hanging) is because their academics suck and their fans are a bunch of inbred lunatics who beat up pregnant ladies because they root for a different team…and the solution to these issues are to serve beer in the stadium ($) and continue to accept the dolts that no other schools will ($).

The other significant issue is the small TV market…but I think that one would be overlooked/acceptable if they were better academically and their fans were the slightest bit civilized.

Besides…it’s WVU…f ’em.

Comment by Hank the Tank 10.13.11 @ 12:02 pm

Great post Chas. Appreciate all you do to keep us all informed. I for one hope the hoopies end up okay…they have been a great rival for Pitt and hope that continues in the future. I think the Big 12 would be crazy not to call them right now and lock them up.

Comment by CJK 10.13.11 @ 12:10 pm

It’s amazing at this stage of the game, when they desperately need football schools, that Villanova is still blocking Temple. They’ve upgraded their football program aren’t the weak little sister that they were when the Big East kicked them out. Back in those years Temple was the strongest basketball program in the Atlantic 10 year, in and year out. They weren’t in “for basketball” because Villanova was blocking them then. The thing that really gets me is that DePaul has a say in things.

Comment by Justinian 10.13.11 @ 12:39 pm

Perhaps we now understand how big a role PITT (Nordenberg)and Syraucuse played in the leadership role of stabilizing the B.E. during the last decade of uncertainty. We PITT and Syracuse gone there appears to be serious lack of any leadership in formulating a future of the B.E.

Sad to see how dysfunctional the B.E. has become. I am beginning to realize that it has always been this bad and Nordenberg was the one voice of reason with those folks. Painful to watch. Like watching a family member self destruct.

Comment by PittFanInAtlanta 10.13.11 @ 4:01 pm

Emel, grow up please. Your response is immature and really demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the industry.

FYI, the NFL is capitalism that is run like socialism so educate yourself or stfu.

Comment by JoeP 10.13.11 @ 4:05 pm

back on topic – I’m so so glad that Pitt finally saw the writing on the wall. they stuck with it, but ultimately the BE was in a unsustainable situation and the delayed fault line is opening up like an earthquake.

Comment by JoeP 10.13.11 @ 4:07 pm

Hey JoeP,

Don’t know who the heck you are. But F*ckoff chump.

You lack a clear understanding of college sports,

Comment by EMel 10.13.11 @ 8:17 pm

I called you out and that’s your response?

Like I said, grow up, educate yourself and then maybe if you’re ready, come back and act like adult.

Comment by JoeP 10.13.11 @ 11:04 pm

Obviously the remaining Big East presidents haven’t read Death with Dignity. Die, die Big East. Reading about your squabbles gives me a headache,

Comment by TonyinHouston 10.14.11 @ 10:39 am

I think that the BE basketball only schools really want the remaining football schools to leave. Oh, they say they are for expansion, but they won’t support anything that jeapordizes their control over the conference.
UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and USF are screwed. They have all worked to improve their football programs – and look where it has gotten them. WVU can pound salt for all I care and the same goes for Louisville.
I hope the SEC takes Missouri and starts the next chain reaction that finishes the Big East as a football conference.

Comment by Penguins Fan 10.14.11 @ 8:20 pm

Actually Penguins Fans, they (BB schools) said the other day that they are NOT for expansion.

Comment by JoeP 10.14.11 @ 10:15 pm

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