Big 12 or Bigger Big East awaits Louisville

A chain of events appears almost inevitable over the next couple of days which could profoundly affect the future of University of Louisville athletics.

Future U of L football schedules, for example, will either include teams like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech from the Big 12.

Or they will be dotted with such foes as Boise State, Navy, Air Force and Temple from the Big East, along with Cincinnati, Rutgers, UConn and South Florida.

We prefer the first option, the Big 12, of course. Just imagine Texas and Oklahoma coming to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium every other year. Or traveling to Austin and Norman for awe-inspiring football venues. Dream come true, a jackpot for Louisville football fans, having joined the big boys club of college football. Quality basketball, too. Imagine taking on Kansas, Texas and Iowa State two or three times a season.

But we could live with an expanded Big East that includes an upgrade in the caliber of football opposition. Basketball? Well, one could almost argue that recent basketball schedules have almost been too rugged, with every conference game seemingly going to the horn. A few more U of L romps would be nice for a change (like that’s going to happen).

If a reconfigured Big East could guarantee more stability, it would still be a comfortable home for U of L teams. BCS eligibility would remain in tact through the 2014 season. The presence of the service academies might provide some protection against the detractors — that and a return to prominence by, say, the Louisville, Cincinnati and West Virginia football programs.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. Missouri must first make the decision everyone expects the school to make by submitting an application to join SEC.  If that doesn’t happen, we’re back to purgatory for a few more weeks or months.

The expected never seems to happen in the conference realignment saga.

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Charlie Springer

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

25 thoughts on “Big 12 or Bigger Big East awaits Louisville

  • October 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Charlie Strong’s recent contract extension might shed some light on what is happening behind closed doors. The timing of the extension is unusual and the salary increase is out of line for a 9-10 coach. Strong’s new contract, though, is not out of line compared to the contracts of the upper tier Big 12 coaches. I am sure that the Big 12 does not consider it’s football programs as stepping stone opportunities. Maybe the Big 12 wanted to see a commitment from Lousiville that it considers itself a big time program which entails big time coaching salaries. We can only hope that this is the case and it is just a matter of time before the Big 12 invite comes. If not, Stong’s extension just seems kind of crazy and out of line for the Big East.

    • October 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      I have recently learned that Charlie is very likely up against some splits in the team due to the Krag-Factor that is still haunting the team…apparently there are some upper classmen to whom Charlie was looking for leadership but they were too ruined by the Krag-mentality to suck it up and take leadership roles.

      I think that Jurich understands this situation and wanted to give Strong a vote of confindence knowing that it is going to take at least another year to “de-Krag” the program.

  • October 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    If they stay in the Big East the football playing schools need to split from the non-football playing schools. It just makes no sense in this day and age. All the other big coneference don’t do it because they know it’s all about football. The commisioner probably would of done this years ago but he’s a Providence College graduate!

  • October 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Excellent point, Matt. That would be a perfect solution but I don’t think they have the cajones to do that.

  • October 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I live in College Station(Aggie Land!!) Tx but a HUGE Longhorn fan, and I have my fingers crossed that Mizzou follows aTm to the SEC so that Louisvulle can join the Big 12!! My personal opinion BIG UPGRADE!!!

    • October 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Great comment. The Aggies have left. Missouri needs to leave and we Longhorns would welcome the upgrade. We take our basketball very seriously and would love to come to Louisville for a game and would look forward to Louisville coming to Austin. It would be great to add West Virginia and Cincinnati

      • October 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        We just want to be in the same stadium with Texas every year Steve. That would be great.

  • October 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    oklahoma wants louisville to join,theres not alot of big names to pick from but louisville is growing,great fans,in the big 12 you will be on tv and more money for a bigger seat football statium,ou and osu put texas in there place when they were going to pac 12,but the travel would be nutts anf the fact is pac 12 is boreing football,ou turned down sec,the new big 12 is comeing with alot of fun games

    • October 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      We’ve got our fingers and toes crossed Keith. Thanks for the greeting. We hope to join you soon.

    • October 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      It would be great if Louisville joins the Big 12 – very exciting. Good luck.

      If this happens, I’m sure it’d spark a ton of excitement for the program, which I, for one, think is much needed. I see too many times when PaPa John’s isn’t full or fans leave early. This just rubs me the wrong way.

      I read that the Cincinnati administration was suprised that Louisville did not even sell out it’s allotment of tickets at 3000 for the recent game. Is that true? If so, it’s not good at all considering the game was 70+ miles away.

      Regardless, I’m a Card fan now and always will be. Hopefully all fans will get behind the team by staying in their seats until the clock runs out – it shows support for the team and sends a message to other conferences that Card fans are some of the best in the nation. I believe that and want Card fans to show it.

      • October 20, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        Tomorrow night vs. Rutgers, let’s show the nation (or at least those watching ESPN 2), what Card fans are all about! Fill the stadium and keep it full throughout the entire game. GO CARDS!

      • October 20, 2011 at 10:02 pm

        Thanks for checking in again,Steve. Thought maybe you have switched to UNC or NC State or something. We will be at PCJS with hand warmers and long underclothing. Football weather for sure.

    • October 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      OU Keith,
      Believe me Louisville fans appreciate your kind words. Please be assured that when you visit our city and our stadium you will be treated with respect by the majority of U of L fans. While we do take our football seriously we also know that being the “Gateway to the South” obligates us to provide Southern Hospitality to our opponents’ fans.

    • October 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

      @ ou keith

      Get your facts straight.

      I was embarrassed for OU for thinking it could force Texas to follow them to the Pathetic 12 conference. The Pac 12 commissioner refused to take OU unless Texas came! After all, it is Texas that has the fertile recruiting grounds, it is Texas that has the money ($16 billion endowment) and it is Texas that has the 25 million TV viewers (huge market). Oklahoma couldn’t hold a candle to Texas in these matters. By the way, where do OU and OSU get their recruits? Answer: from the state of Texas of course! When OU and OSU play any team from the state of Texas, you are really seeing Texas kids playing against Texas kids. Think about it.

      Another reason the Pathetic 12 wanted Texas is because Texas is a member of the prestigious AAU (Association of American Universities). You can’t say that about OU or OSU! So you see, OU and OSU put nobody in “there” place (I think you meant to write “their”). OU’s failed attempt to move to the Pathetic 12 without Texas only proved that OU was not “driving the bus.”

      I saw the press conference (at after the Pac 12 turned OU away. Boy was that embarrassing for Boren. To save face, he tried to give it a different spin of course (just like you are trying to do here), but even OU students and fans knew the truth and they were all embarrassed as well (according to the comments I read).

      Now, regarding Louisville to the Big 12, I have to agree with you that it would be a great fit. I would love to see this happen and I think most Big 12 fans feel the same way.

  • October 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm


    UC doubled the price on the tickets send to our ticket office. Our fans are not stupid, they bought the tickets through UC and other commercial ticket services for hald the prices. Louisville probably had 18,000 to 20,000 fans at the game, but UC says they were their fans because they bought the half price tickets in Cincinnati. What you heard is pure BS, ever UofL/UC game I have ever travel to Louisville fans out number U fans by at least 10,000 fans.

    • October 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

      Thanks for the clarification on the UC game. Glad to hear the correct version!

      Charlie – you know I could NEVER be a North Carolina, Duke, ACC fan! When Pitt and Syracuse join the conference I hope they run wild over these schools. The only ACC school I like is Wake Forest -local team, good fans, etc.

      GO CARDS !!!! I’ll be watching tonight. I’m feeling a win!

    • October 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Wilkie, I was at the game in Cincy. We definitely had more than 3,000 fans there, but it was nowhere near 18K to 20K. That would have been nearly half the crowd. We probably had 5K to 6K in the house, which was a bit disappointing to me.

  • October 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Good luck Cards on getting a Big XII invite! That move would be a boon for UofL in recruiting as well as national television exposure for both the FB and BB programs.

    I am impressed by most UofL fans as they are courteous and friendly. I’ll trade Mizzou fans for Cards fans any day. Plus I look forward to possibly seeing TTU games up here in Louisville.

    Guns Up!

  • October 22, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I think the Big 12 will move to quickly add BYU for this season if Mizzou departs ! I don’t look for any Big East teams to jump to the current Big 9, because it is crystal clear that BE Commish will enforce the “letter of the law” 27 month departure rule ! BE teams would not help Big 9 fill it’s holes until 2014 !Maybe the Big 9 will take a last minute run on BSU ?

    • October 24, 2011 at 10:54 am

      I have to disagree with you here. I think BYU is off the table now for the Big 12 because the Big 12 television partners were having a problem with BYU’s demands. There is no way the Big 12 conference will want to lose money from its television partners just to add BYU as a member. Even BYU knows now that they messed up with demanding too much! BYU will not get an invite from the Big 12 anytime soon (maybe never).

      Boise State? Good in football, but bad in everything else, including poor academic reputation. Not a good choice for the Big 12 in the long run.

      I think the Big 12’s best bet is to look eastward. We want a team that has a good academic and a solid athletic program for the conference and Louisville seems to meet these requirements. Wouldn’t it be great to add another strong basketball school to our conference?

      As for Louisville’s 27 month wait to leave the BE, I am sure the Big 12 could figure something out. The Big 12 needs to act quickly, however, because now the BE wants to increase the exit fees for teams thinking about leaving the conference.

  • October 24, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I am enjoying your website more and more. Would love to see Louisville in the Big 12. I am a Texas alum who loves Big 12 football, basketball and baseball. Louisville would be a great fit. Sure hope Misery (Missouri) leaves soon!

  • October 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    ut4big12 you got all the rudeness of texas,thats why nebraska,cu,am, now mizzou lefted you big dork,please dont show your ass to the lousiville fans ! and get your facts straight ou and osu was going to pac 12 til pac 12 comish meet in dallas and texas used the longhorn network againset the deal your 300 mill. contract !trust me louisville fans big 12 only has 1 greedy team in it,you guys already know from reports,dan bebee was fired now big 12 has moved forword and there will be all equal funds except the longhorn network will still have there funds,i wish someone would of stoped it before nebraska lefted

  • October 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    From your comment, it sounds like you are not educated, which explains your rudeness and name-calling. You also must be living under a rock!

    When the Big 12 was formed in 1994, OU, Nebraska, A&M and Texas all voted for unequal revenue sharing because each school knew that it would appear more on television than would the smaller schools in the conference.
    However, Nebraska started to lose ground in reputation when it could not play OU every year like it used to in the past (before the Big 12 was formed). This was the problem with having a two-division 12 team league. And besides, the powerhouse schools were all in the South Division of the conference.

    Nebraska and A&M later learned that the OU/Texas game was more important to both OU and to Texas than was the OU/Nebraska game or the Texas/A&M game.

    A&M has always been jealous of Texas even before both teams went to the Big 12 and A&M got “tired” of being thought of as Texas’ little brother. The administrators at A&M (hired by the Aggie governor of Texas) all came from the SEC so they still had SEC ties. This was the start of the idea of going to the SEC for A&M. Adding TCU to the Big 12 was an excellent replacement choice and A&M will not be missed like it thought it would be.

    It is naive of you to think that Texas should give up the Longhorn Network (worth $300 million) just so that OU could get into the Pac 12. It is OU that was being greedy here. OU then tried to get into the Pac 12 without Texas and it was turned away. Quite an embarrassing moment for OU. If you think OU is such a big deal, let OU get its own network! Every school in the conference is empowered to negotiate its third tier rights. That is exactly what Texas did when it struck a deal with ESPN. In the past, it was Notre Dame that did this with NBC and there is no way that Notre Dame would ever give this up.

    As for Colorado, the school (CU) was invited to join the Pac 8 when it was still a member of the Big 8 Conference, but CU decided to turn down the invite. When the opportunity presented itself again (Pac 10 announcing it wanted to expand), CU then decided to join. The Pac 10 was a cultural fit for CU and besides most of CU’s alumni is based in California and not in Colorado. I should know because I lived in Colorado for 14 years and the state does not follow CU football. Most Coloradoans follow the Denver Broncos instead. CU will never amount to anything in the Pac12 and look at all the traveling it has to do now just to play conference games! CU has yet to beat anyone in the Pac 12.

    Regarding Missouri, everyone knows that Missouri flirted with the Big Ten last year. When it was not invited to join, Missouri had to come crawling back to the Big 12. The school should have been kicked out of the conference at that time. Now, it is flirting with the SEC. Missouri thinks it can “be somebody” in the SEC when it cannot even “be somebody” in the Big 12. By the way, the SEC is a conference that allows its members to have their own networks (third tier rights), hence Florida has a network. The SEC would gladly drop everything to have Texas join if Texas so chose, but the SEC is a conference with a reputation for having very poor academic standards (except for those at University of Florida and at Vanderbilt). Everyone outside of the SEC thinks of the SEC as standing for the (S)tarving for (E)ducation (C)onference or (S)atin’s (E)vil (C)onference. SEC never extended an invitation to Texas because it knew that Texas would never join and the SEC does not want to be embarrassed like the way the Pac 12 was when Texas spurned them. The Pac 12 could not offer Texas anything that Texas did not already have.

    Getting back to Louisville and the Big 12, I have a lot of respect for Louisville fans. From what I have been reading, Louisville has a rabid fan base as any of those I have seen in the Big 12. I sincerely hope your move to the Big 12 happens soon.

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