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.
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.