Overseer likes U of L’s conference future with Tom Jurich at the helm

Attempting to get some perspective on how the University of Louisville fits in the conference expansion picture, the observer contacted a member of the university’s Board of Overseers Wednesday. He’s also served on the board of the U of L Athletic Association, is a staunch fan, highly opinionated and keenly interested in the issue.

The Louisville businessman admitted he’s excited about all the speculation, including mentions of possible tie-ins to the SEC, the Big 12 and the ACC or of a strengthened Big East.

“It’s all highly speculative at the moment and a lot of things can and will happen,” he said. “Tom Jurich doesn’t talk to anybody about the topic. If he’s had any contact with other conferences, we would never know because he’s  not about to disclose any information.”

“But there’s nobody I’d rather have representing the University of Louisville at this critical moment. He is very good when it comes to these kinds of situations. He has strongly positioned U of L to take advantage of emerging opportunities.”

The overseer believes the Big East may be a good position to benefit if the college conference landscape continues to change. Especially if the Big 12 Conference is dismantled. “We could have some tremendous rivalries with schools like Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri or Iowa State,” he said. “They’re within reasonable driving distances and our fans could get excited about playing them.”

But he wouldn’t be surprised at anything that happens. “There are some fascinating scenarios,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have Tom Jurich representing us.”

Notre Dame: Texas Of The Big East

Was everyone paying attention when Notre Dame forcefully confirmed over the weekend that one of its priorities is preserving the Big East Conference?

The league has reportedly scheduled a conference call later this week with the school presidents and athletic directors to discuss conference expansion and alignment issues.

When Notre Dame speaks, people listen, believing them when they say the Big East Conference is a priority.

More than likely, the conference call was scheduled before Monday’s news that the Big 12 Conference will be sticking around. Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri are not packing their bags.

The Big East, if it is indeed being proactive, has some serious matters to resolve. First and foremost should be whether to add at least one more football member. The issue is too important for the conference to ignore any longer. Too important for even the Irish to ignore.

Even though it doesn’t play football in the Big East, Notre Dame is the Big East equivalent of Texas to the Big 12. When Notre Dame speaks, conference members listen, believing them when they say the Big East Conference is a priority.

Irish administrators have said twenty hundred times that they want to remain independent in football. So if Notre Dame doesn’t intend to play Big East football, how will the school contribute to the long-term viability of the conference?

Presumably Notre Dame is actively involved in seeking answers, working with conference members in recent days, putting its brain trust to work while applying clout. Generating creative ideas and innovative solutions, furthering the Notre Dame agenda of protecting the league.

And conference members will be all ears.

Notre Dame May Be Forced To Reconsider

So much for the Southeastern Conference not being interested in expansion …

Kind of like Notre Dame would never join a conference.

The word circulating Saturday is that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive has been in College Station, Texas this weekend, meeting with officials at Texas A&M. Must have gone well. There are reports the Texas A&M regents may be making an announcement next week.

Under the new super conference alignments, what if the football powers chose to end the "special" status Notre Dame has enjoyed? Tradition doesn't count for much these days.

The University of Texas regents are set to meet Tuesday. Originally scheduled to discuss an invitation to join the PAC-10. Seeing as how Texas and Texas A&M appear to be joined at the hip,  a change on the agenda is likely, with SEC consideration coming first.

That would give the SEC 14 teams, and it could end there, but there are also a couple of reports that Oklahoma might prefer a similar geographic alliance over the one proposed by the PAC. Oklahoma State would obviously be receptive as well.

If so, that would wreak havoc with the PAC’s expansion plans, originally including Big 12 members Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

What would the PAC do then, extend invitations to Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State? Sounds far fetched but stranger things are happening. And how would the reported developments affect discussions between those schools and the Big East? And has Notre Dame been involved at any level in Big East deliberations?

One has a hunch that Notre Dame is feeling increased pressure. What if all these new super conferences are headed toward a playoff system?  Under the new conference alignments, what if the football powers chose to end the “special” status the Irish have enjoyed?

If there’s anything obvious about all the conference shuffling, it is that tradition doesn’t count for much these days.

Notre Dame may be forced to play a card soon.


Go West Big East

If it’s true that the Big East is in conversations with some of the betrayed members of the Big 12 Conference, there are some exciting times ahead for University of Louisville fans.

One can easily identify with playing schools like Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State on a regular basis. Why not go ahead and go after Utah and Brigham Young while we’re at it. All of these options are good to great, all competitive in football and basketball, and probably in the non-revenue sports as well.

Go ahead and let Rutgers and Syracuse go wherever. Good riddance to the unfaithful, the starry-eyed wannabes, the annointed prima donnas.

Dump the basketball-only schools. They should be happy with the singular focus on what the college sports world has deemed to be a secondary sport. Football is king. Long live the king.

Add East Carolina and Memphis, or Southern Miss. Let them join the big boys. They will contribute.

What one would have would be a great collection of schools happy to be together, ready to build toward a collective future.

Do it.