Conference realignment put to rest, Louisville back to building for the future

With all the misleading statements and contradictions over the past two years, it has taken a few days for the full impact to sink in for some of us.

The worst part about Tom Jurich’s revelation about conference realignment last week is that the half-baked speculation and postulating about the University of Louisville’s conference future will continue unabated, possibly for years.

“We can’t control our options. There’s no movement right now. Everything has settled. So we’ve just got to stand back and judge what are the best options for us if they do become available. And if they don’t, the Big East is a pretty damn good landing for us.”

Turns out that all the so-called insiders, the ones telling us not to worry, that inclusion in the Big 12 was imminent, were wishful thinkers just like the rest of us. Well-intentioned maybe, but not fully informed.  That, of course, was never possible when the principles involved in expansion never knew themselves where all of this was headed, still don’t and won’t know for some time.

Jurich’s timing for the statement was interesting, coming at a time when interest in UofL athletics is at an all-time high. He could have continued to lead us on, allowing the boon in ticket and merchandise sales to continue, choosing instead to be honest, putting the speculation to rest.

He did everything possible to present a convincing case on Louisville’s inclusion. The unpredictable Big 12 leadership, which almost allowed the conference to disintegrate a year ago, has never been able to agree on much of anything. They chose inertia over action, missing out on an opportunity to add a great program.

The sooner we get over the disappointment, the better, the faster we can get on with whatever comes next, not expecting the Big 12 leadership to do us any favors. The conference is not a Utopia, with more than its share of internal conflict over the years, having lost four schools as a result.

The reality is that we are back where we started. With the current quality of coaches and athletes on campus, the upcoming year could be an exceptional one. Charlie Strong’s team will be very respectable, possibly competing in another BCS bowl. Barring injuries, Rick Pitino’s team will be among the contenders for another NCAA basketball title, a goal close to the heart of many a Louisville fan. Also expect UofL to continue to compete at the highest levels in baseball, soccer, women’s basketball and softball, volleyball, tennis and swimming as well.

U of L has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, thanks to the leadership of Jurich and Jim Ramsey. Enjoy the fruits of those efforts this year. Be really surprised if the Big 12 ever gets its act together.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

12 thoughts on “Conference realignment put to rest, Louisville back to building for the future”

  1. Tough to say that we are right back where we started, in terms of being a member of the BIG EAST.

    WVU, Pitt, Syracuse gone, new members added.

    Picture signing up for a time-share and seeing the spots where it’s honored changing after you join. Improvement or downgrade pretty much in the eye of the owner.

    More conference re-alignment will occur down the road. Whether Louisville will motor up and make the drive is anyone’s guess.

  2. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Syracuse and Pittsburgh were anything special in football. They weren’t. West Virginia will be missed.

  3. The Big 12 is like the spoiled girl who relishes all the attention and is never able to tell anyone yes or no. Eventually it comes back to haunt her when the looks are gone.

  4. I think we r better off at this time sitting back & waiting for the whole thing to blow up again. It’s going to come to the point where these mega conferences will either implode due to infighting & too many different interests or else it will end up 4 super conferences. I think at this point we r better off waiting to see which way things go instead of rushing into anything.

  5. Regardless of our conference affiliation, Louisville needs to continue to invest in both our student atheletes, our facilities and our image. By beating our opponents consistantly in every sport from Swimming to Football we will draw the attention of the big-time conferences. Keep our eyes on the prize, but our heads in reality, and stop worring about what we can’t control. Go to the games and enjoy the season. Go Cards.

    1. i have to agree, john. attendance numbers speak volumes, a decibel level no marketing scheme can match. the fanbase really needs to fill the seats, home games and whatever bowl game we draw, and showing up for away games wont hurt either. the more willing we are to spend money on our athletic program, the more attention people will give us, and rightfully so

  6. I still think the ACC is the best place for us , ( traveling distance so forth ). I Know that the ACC is not the end all for all conferences, I just think it would be a good fit, but we^ll see.

  7. There is still a lot of chatter on the net about the ACC adding Notre Dame and Louisville or UConn. We shall see.

  8. If we don’t land somewhere by 2014, we r in trouble. Still, there will more than likely be 1 more realignment of conferences between now & then. There is no way sec, acc, pac 12, & big 10 will allow a big 12 school in the final 4 of football without having a conference championship game.

    1. For sure, the Big 12 isn’t kidding anyone. But they’re likely to trip overthemselves if they don’t add Louisville. They didn’t like it when UofL looked the other way early in the process.

  9. Card Fans, I wouldn’t panic just yet about not getting a Big12 invite. It may not happen for another year or two, but my guess is the Big12 will have 12 schools by the time the playoff starts(Pressure from the SEC?) Think about the Champions Bowl. It’s going to pit the SEC Champ who had to play an extra conference championship game against a regular season Big12 Champ(who doesn’t have to play a conference championship game). Is the SEC really excited about this Big12 advantage? We’ll see.
    I have a feeling UofL will be in the Big12 before it’s over. It’s no secret Louisville is the primary candidate(according to Deloss Dodds) if the Big12 expands again. And let’s not forget McConnell’s pal David Boren at OU. We are just going to have to ride out the BCS era. Which may be pretty darn sweet. GO CARDS!

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