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.