Big East Split Inevitable Over Football

No surprise the Big East is again in the unenviable position of having members targeted by other conferences. The Big East leadership has done nothing to resolve the major issues in football scheduling, forcing member schools to fend for themselves.

The inability to recognize that football is the key to securing the future probably stems from its founding as a basketball conference in 1979. The conference didn’t even include football competition until 1992 when Rutgers, Miami, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Temple joined Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. UConn was in the process of moving up to Division 1A.

The biggest mistake was probably the rejection of Penn State in the early eighties when the conference picked Pittsburgh instead. Penn State football coach Joe Paterno would lobby hard for an eastern conference with many of the same members but he was rebuffed, ultimately joining the Big Ten.

Because of the Big East's inertia, there is no move the conference could make that would prevent any other BCS league from taking its lunch money.

While the lack of vision may have been a good thing for Louisville, making it possible to join the Big East, the failure to be proactive in resolving the football scheduling issues is not. The potential for football revenue (and losses) is much greater than for basketball. The revenue produced by the cellar-dwelling football teams in the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference is comparable to the top Big East teams in both football and basketball.

Because of the Big East’s inertia, there is no move the conference could make that would prevent any other BCS league from taking its lunch money. It’s as if the university presidents, who really make the decisions, are unable to grasp the significance of the issue, or they are so helpless and inept that they prefer to wait until another conference forces them to do something.

As a result, a conference split between the basketball and football schools appears inevitable. However, the lineup of members of the new football conference may not faintly resemble the current one.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Big East Split Inevitable Over Football

  • December 21, 2009 at 5:50 pm
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    University presidents are notorious for wanting people to grovel, the bigger and older the university the worse the problem. The basketball schools are happy and content, the football schools are outnumbered so nobody does anything. I, for one, am happy the Big Ten is shaking things up. This sitting around does nobody any good.

  • December 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm
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    Add however many football school to the Big East to get it to twelve football teams and let the basketball only part of the Big East drift off to where ever.

    Add Memphis, ECU, Central Florida and one or two other schools and create a conference playoff for football.

    Lump Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt, WVU and ECU into one division and Louisville, Cincy, Memphis, USF, UCF and maybe Navy or Marshall into the other.

    Would you miss yearly games with St. John, Seton Hall or Providence? Wouldn’t bother me in the least. Georgetown, Villanova and Marquette? Add Notre Dame in hoops to that mix and DePaul…have fun playing hoops against each other.

  • December 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm
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    Let me say it again. Notre Dame should be in the conference or out of the conference. It should either play football or get the hell out.

  • December 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm
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    I think most people have got the message about Notre Dame. They’re going to stay independent while they fade further and further into obscurity. They are living in yesteryear, getting more and more irrelevant with each day. Good for them.

  • December 22, 2009 at 9:27 am
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    Notre Dame needs OUT of the BIG EAST!! You hit the spot with the issues created by the BIG EAST’s lack of aggresiveness on this. The BIG EAST needs to be proactive and add some football teams to create a 12 team conference.

  • December 24, 2009 at 11:41 am
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    Notre Dame, PSU, Boston College and Maryland are not joining the Big East. The Big East has to go to 12. So the Big East has to add 5 teams:

    UCF
    Memphis
    ECU
    Temple
    5th Team ????? to replace Cuse, Rutgers or Pitt. Who the 5th team is the question.

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