Certainty about Louisville’s conference future brings relief

Well, at least the uncertainty is over.

Having said to have initially rejected an offer from the Big 12 and then been rejected when the conference came to a final conclusion, the University of Louisville now must play a leading role in rebuilding the Big East.

Something to be said for knowing exactly where one stands. More than sense of relief, feels more like closure. No more constantly checking Twitter, the message boards, trying to read between the lines.

The factual information blurred by all the speculation, the erroneous reports, the trial balloons, the planted rumors and falsehoods, the antagonism with the West Virginia crazies, the farcical Missouri maneuvering and the Texas and Oklahoma tugs of war. What a nightmare it was.

All things of the past. We hope so anyway. A sabbatical would be great. Revisit the issue next year, or the year after. If we must.

U of L fans can focus on other more important issues. Yeah, we would have loved being in the Big 12 playing Texas and Oklahoma and other powers on an annual basis. But we know now that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

The inability of UofL to make it into a football conference was undoubtedly affected by the slow growth in local support for college football. As a university and a community, Louisville has only recently recognized the value of having a strong football program.

Now we know for certain where football stands in the overall picture. University of Louisville basketball is a wonderful diversion during the winter months and it has brought some nice recognition for the university. But by all but ignoring football for so many decades, we were shortchanging the athletic program and the university.

UofL had too much ground to make up even after Howard Schnellenberger, Malcolm Chancey and Bill Olson finally got a stadium.  Still Tom Jurich was able to get UofL in the Big East and in the BCS picture. Remarkably, he came close to getting Louisville in the Big 12 Conference — a tremendous accomplishment considering where the school was a few years ago.

Football is king in college sports. That much is certain.

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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.

9 thoughts on “Certainty about Louisville’s conference future brings relief

  • October 30, 2011 at 9:51 am
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    Agree wholeheartedly. Charlie Strong already indicated as much; it was the uncertainty that was a nuisance to recruiting. And I believe CS’s recruiting prowess transcends conference affiliation.

  • October 30, 2011 at 10:09 am
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    Nuts!

  • October 30, 2011 at 10:26 am
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    Agree that it had to be a distraction. The shame of it all is that it never had to be this way. If Bill Olsen had demonstrated backbone and a little independence from his boss, a certain basketball coach, the Metro Conference would still be around, have the Big East’s BCS bid and rendered the ACC a football afterthought. All it would have taken was to compromise on television revenue distribution so Florida State would do the same and not only would the Metro members be together but Miami would have joined immediately and likely West Virginia as well.selfishness as a conference member never pays in the long run as the the Big East and Big 12 are discovering. The solid conferences are those that are all-in, share everything equally. It worked for the Big Ten, SEC and ACC and it works for the NFL. Anything else leads to instability and cries of favoritism or worse.

  • October 31, 2011 at 6:43 am
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    Charlie – are you blaming the fans: “The inability of UofL to make it into a football conference was undoubtedly affected by the slow growth in local support for college football?”

    The uncertainty may be over but the reality for me is this STINKS. And will stink for a long time. As the famous line in Animal House – fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through life. Trying to rebuild the Big East into something it’s not or never will be is stupid too. Look at the current Big East teams (football) and the rankings, etc. Now, take away WVU and what have you got? Houston and Army/Navy/Air Force just ain’t exciting football.

    If you think there wasn’t local support for football now, just wait until WV and others leave. I’d be willing to bet in 2013, U of L wouldn’t fill old Cardinal Stadium for their home games!

    • October 31, 2011 at 8:52 am
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      Steve, it was everybody, the fans, the faculty, the administration, the university, the community going ga ga over basketball, ignoring football. If the fans go away, it makes my point all over again.

  • October 31, 2011 at 8:29 am
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    I don’t think anyone is arguing that it doesn’t stink. But it’s our reality for the time being. Also bear in mind that if Houston were on our schedule this year they would be our most highly-ranked opponent.

    Our situation stinks. But we shouldn’t be disparaging the other teams that we will need to keep our league together for the next few years, nor should we be threatening to stop going to games. That’s just absurd.

    Louisville football is putting an exciting product on the field and they need our support now more than ever. As the Observer said, we’ve been through worse.

    • October 31, 2011 at 10:02 am
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      Thanks for reminding me of Coach HWNSNBS.

  • October 31, 2011 at 10:08 am
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    I agree with you Mr. Red, we all need to stick together to support the Cards and the other team now that we’re in this situation. I only hope that somehow, some way, Boise State, BYU or others join the Big East to help make it a formidable conference. If this is the road we’re going down, I hope the Big East is aggressive in geting the right teams in the conference, not settling for service academies that bring nothing. My opinion.

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