While some in the Big East Conference are rejoicing, the league suffered still another blow Monday with the agreement of the BCS and the Presidential Oversight Committee on six bowls and a “Group of 5” arrangement.

New Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco seemed to be ecstatic that the conference was not shut out altogether. “This is a better plan for us because it gives us the same guaranteed access for our conference champion,” he said. “We’ll work out all the revenue. We’ll be fine. This gives us an opportunity to play in one of six games on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. That’s great for our conference. That’s no way a negative.”

Mike Aresco

We think he may have been too close to the process, the conference still allowing itself to be manipulated by college football self-appointed big boys to monopolize the the playoff system.

There will be six bowls as part of new four-team playoff system, with the winners of the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference each receiving automatic bids and as many as five of the other bids (unless Notre Dame qualifies). Two of the bowls will host the semi-finalists on a rotating basis, with a selection committee determining the participants.

The Big East no longer will be assured on an automatic berth as it is now. Instead it will be lumped into the “Group of 5,” with the strongest team from the Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, Sun Belt and the Mid-America Conference receiving a spot in the sixth bowl.

The deal with ESPN is reportedly worth $475 million annually, and all schools involved will receive far more money than they do now. ESPN pays $180 million annually for the current system. With that much money involved, the power brokers have been flexing their muscle, protecting their interests, regardless of who gets harmed.

The intimidation process was so persuasive that Aresco actually thought he got a good deal for the Big East.

Where’s the line for the class action lawsuit?

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By Charlie Springer

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

7 thoughts on “Big East Commish scrambles for playoff scraps”
  1. Great. Lumped into second-tier status by the Four Letter Network. It’s high time Louisville bailed from this sinking ship known as the BIG EAST or conference realigment , with 16 teams each in four power conferences. Louisville’s inclusion might be suspect for some pundits in such an arrangement…but with Tom Jurich and Charlie Strong in place…don’t bet against it.

    64 teams. A playoff system like college basketball or baseball. The time has come.

  2. I think they have to wait until the first game where a outside team should be able to get into the top 4. As soon as they have hard ammunition that they are being biased against outside teams they will have ammunition for lawsuits.

    The thing that is most disturbing to me is that they seem to be handing ESPN the keys. They should be taking this to the open market. I never understood 30 day negotiating windows for something of this magnitude. I would think NBC and/or Fox would pay dearly to have the right to say “Home of the college football playoffs” over and over and over all season long for years as they promote the teams on their respective networks.

  3. Worse yet. The five power conferences keep the money from the contract bowls (Rose/80 million, Sugar/80 million, and Orange/60 million). The money from the semifinals and access bowls will be split in favor of the power conferences. 80% to the power conferences and 20% to the G5. So the Big East will get 4% of that revenue and each of the “power” conferences will get 16%. Even if a strong television contract, the Big East is going to be far behind in terms of money available for its athletic departments.

    1. If you think college football has problems now, just wait until there are mountains of cash being passed around under the new arrangements. Recruiting is really going to be cut throat and no one will be in control of the power mongers.

  4. I think the Big East got downgraded by the deal BIG TIME. ESPN runs the show now and basically put the Big East on the same level as the Sun Belt, WAC, C-USA, and MW. YET, head-to-head, has PROVED they are equal or better than the ACC. Bigger losers are Boise State (they could have stayed put and been in the same situation but now will travel MILES to games they didn’t need) and Where does BYU (Independant status) do? They are completely shut out of the new bowl picture. It could work in Louisville’s favor if BYU and Louisville are invited to the Big12. WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE ARMPIT BIG EAST… Come on TommyJ, work your magic!!

  5. JJ, there are no guarantees that that is ever going to happen (watch it happen now that I said that). Tom will see to it that we make the best out of whatever’s possible.

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