They’re not leaving, they’re posting an eviction notice.
Seven Roman Catholic basketball members of the Big East Conference members want to form their own conference? DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova.
The first impulse is to say good riddance, but they want to take the conference name with them. If that happens, they will have effectively booted the all-sports members out of the Big East, leaving them in no man’s land without any organization or bylaws.
Poor Mike Aresco, the individual hired a year ago to build the Big East brand, caught up in a conference realignment fiasco. Now he’s faced with the reality of no identity at all, continuing to face an uncertain future. The inevitable has come to pass, the worst possible outcome for schools caught up in the situation, stuck in a league with no name, no conference history and a dim future.
The football playing schools — past and present — are largely to blame for not splitting off from the league years ago, allowing their future to be limited by their association with the basketball centric schools. They had little in common, an inability to work collectively for the common good of the league, so focused on their individual goals, all the while looking for the nearest exit.
The big question may be what happens to all the new schools that joined the Big East over the past year to play football — Temple, Southern Methodist, Houston, Central Florida, Navy, Tulane and East Carolina. Will they want to hang around? Maybe. Maybe not. Cincinnati and UConn are stuck where they are. Rutgers, like UofL, has to wait until 2014. Navy is probably the only school that has a real choice.
How will their decisions affect the University of Louisville football program? With the 2014 ACC football schedule already sewn up, UofL has to hope the remnants of the remaining league can stay together at least one more season. Basketball would be okay for a year as an independent, the ACC may be an option for non-revenue sports.
The immediate future, however, as has been so typical of life in the Big East, remains cloudy because of an untenable relationship with basketball-centric schools.