Pitino suggests Jay Bilas, ignoring Big East history

Ironic that Rick Pitino’s suggestion of hiring Jay Bilas as the next Big East Commissioner would come from Brett McMurphy.

McMurphy has consistently the most reliable source of information about conference realignment over the past year or so in his role as the college football analyst for CBS Sports.

The demise of the Big East in BCS competition has been a direct of the conference’s overemphasis on basketball, giving a group of small Catholic schools far too much power, resulting in the loss of founding football-playing members from the league.

Jay Bilas

Yet here’s a basketball coach at the University of Louisville advocating that a member of ESPN’s basketball team be the new commissioner. The basketball coach at a school that has been frustrated at every turn to get out of the league and into a respected football conference.

Is Pitino so absorbed with basketball that he doesn’t care what happens to other sports at the university? He indicates that “Dave Gavitt’s vision could be carried out by one man that has come to the necessary way of thinking towards the future.”

Unfortunately, Gavitt’s “vision” was for the Big East to become the premier basketball conference in the country. That vision has already come to fruition but at a terrible price for members with football and the basketball programs themselves, and even the conference’s future. The Big East may never recover the loss in prestige for failing to recognize the importance of football.

What was Pitino thinking? Does he believe that UofL will never achieve its goal in football? More importantly, what are Tom Jurich and Charlie Strong thinking today?  Did Pitino even consider their opinions?

Bilas is a good basketball analyst. He’s also an attorney and his opinions command respect. Could be just the thing, providing the leadership the conference so badly needs. With his reputation, Bilas could be a real mover and shaker, enabling the Big East to regain some of the ground it has lost in recent years.

But what matters most to the Big East, the University of Louisville and everybody else right now is college football. We know nothing about his views on football or whether he would be committed to returning respectability to the conference in football. Without such a commitment, the Bilas nomination should be dead on arrival.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Pitino suggests Jay Bilas, ignoring Big East history

  • July 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    is it strange to think rick has a good point in the nomination? you know bilas understands the importance of the big east brand of basketball and its unmatched intense intra-conference competition. that is undeniable, and bilas can do a great job making sure everyone else is aware of it by marketing it as such. to be fair, it isnt the best thing for U of L despite rick’s narrowed point of view, because the revenue streams would be much greater in a big 12 or even acc. the complaint here shouldnt be the choice of commissioner, its the timing in our changing-of-the-guard that sets me off… during major conference realignment, new football tv negotiations, and timing of the arrival/departure of your own conferences members. im ready for U of L to jump ship already, but i dont have much weight among the powers that be

    • July 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Lots of good points in your comments, Russ. Really good to hear from you. Tell everybody hello.

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