Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The conference dominos are starting to fall: should we panic?

This weekend the news broke that Pitt and Syracuse were leaving the Big East for the ACC. This raised concerns that other Big East football schools might flee, and now it looks like that may happen, as the rump of the Big 12 and the Big East are talking about merging (or more accurately the Big East getting subsumed into the Big 12).

This is obviously driven by football and by the money schools and conferences get from TV contracts, radio, bowls, etc. That means the basketball-only schools, St. John's, Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Villanova and Georgetown, and Notre Dame (which is independent in football) would be out of the loop. That's the problem.

Would those remaining schools grab the better non-football schools from other conferences? Would those be only Catholic schools? Who are likely candidates to go to the new Big East? Dayton, Xavier, St. Joe's, SLU, Butler? Could GW go there? What about URI, UMass, Temple? What would happen to GW and the A-10?

The GWHoopsters are hashing it out too. Free Quebec has a couple of scenarios:
The worst case scenario would be that the leftover BCS football schools (like South Florida and maybe Iowa St or Kansas St) will join C-USA and MWC to create solid second tier leagues.   Then, in the worst case, the top A-10 catholic schoolsw will join up with the big east basketball schools to create an all-catholic league. I don't tihnk this is as easy as it sounds, but if it happens, that's the worst case.

That would leave GW along with UMASS, URI, and Richmond to form the core of a new confernece.  That's not that bad.  You could even potentially keep Temple if they don't feel they have to join the MAC or CUSA for all sports.   You might be able to add a school like Butler if they don't go to the new Catholic league, or a good basketball school like Western Kentucky.  BU could possibly jump over to it, and that's a school that could be decent if they wanted to.  Duquesne and the Bonnies could get left out of the big league and stay with us (decent tradition but I could live without the Olean road trip).    Maybe you get some other school like GMU, JMU and/or ODU to jump from the Colonial, or someone like Siena from the MAAC.   Heck, you could even have a school like St. Joe's get vetoed by Villanova.

And that's all just the worst case scenario.  It's no given that schools like st. John's and Villanova will want to travel to Philadelphia or Dayton or even Milwaukee for swim meets without football revenue.   It's just as conceivable that the Big East basketball schools stay together and add no one or add only a couple teams, leaving the A-10 largely intact.  Or that the baskteball schools from the Big East and A-10 split into a midwestern regional league and an eastern regional league, with us in the eastern league. 
There's that stupid saying that the Chinese symbol for "crisis" is made up of the symbols for "danger" and "opportunity." That isn't true, but it's accurate in this case. We could lose the crappy schools and get some better ones, or we could end up with the dregs.

I think we're better positioned now than ever, and that was kind of the idea. New athletic director Patrick Nero is said to have a lot of good connections, and Mike Lonergan has a lot of northeastern experience too. Conference-wise, conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade was associate commissioner of the ACC, and seems a lot better than Linda Bruno.

So, fingers crossed. Hail to the Buff.

Here are two related videos.


JT said...

Why does the ACC have to go and start butchering other conferences? Doesn't it have enough talent as is? This is literally the end of the Big East with two of its strongest pillars have been swiped from right under its nose.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! These are crazy and scary times. I don't think the GWs and Richmonds of the world can rely on Temple or UMass in any new/reformed conference. For stability, seems like any new conference would need only hoops schools. Even JMU, Charlotte and ODU might be trouble with their football ambitions. If the Catholic Conference comes about, that'd be the golden ticket for hoops-only schools. The second tier would probably be some A10/CAA hybrid, minus the above schools.
It may yet be a year or three, but it seems like we're getting closer to these crazy scenarios....

Dave said...

Only Phil Collins can help us make sense of this world we're living in.


Andrew W said...

I call your Phil Collins and raise you Genesis: http://colonialhoops.blogspot.com/2011/10/temple-to-join-big-east.html

You can get college basketball tickets here.