The Tranghese Tango

The Big East Conference badly needs another football school to resolve scheduling challenges. However, Conference Commissioner Mike Tranghese vehemently denies that the league is considering an additional member.

Tranghese is either: 1) blind to the situation, 2) not telling the truth, or 3) he lacks the authority or confidence of the league’s university presidents to deal with the issue.

“Schools aren’t talking to me and I’m not talking to anybody,” Tranghese recently told the Hartford Courant. “People [from schools interested in joining] call me and I tell them I’m not talking because I’m not authorized. Plus our people have no interest. You get your board members, fans, it’s incredible. I have told anybody and everybody it’s not happening. Don’t bother me.”

Oh, come on. Whose people have no interest? The football programs have a great deal of interest from fans, coaches, players, board members, as well as administrators who answer to supporters, in improving their schedules

If Tranghese is not at least aware of the need or the demand, he is not qualified for the  job. He has to be at least informally discussing the possible interest of aspiring programs like Memphis. That’s why the rumors continue to resurface on a regular basis.

But the conference commissioner has maintained — and did again last week — that there are no fish to fry on the issue. Even though the Big East is the smallest BCS-affiliated conference with an unbalanced schedule that forces a disparity in league road games, causes each team to have five non-conference games while most teams in the country have four and has no league championship game with its big payday.

One can understand that Tranghese is publicly not in a position to wheel or deal with prospective new members. Not when he has to balance the needs of the 16 university presidents. If he makes the wrong move, the whole thing could come tumbling down around him. If he does nothing, it could still happen.

Too much is at $take for the football schools for Tranghese to ignore the issue. The Big East needs to be prepared for the next major shift in the football landscape. A split between the football and non-football schools appears inevitable. Tranghese will either be involved in solving the challenge or making the problem worse. Credit or blame, Mike? Take your pick.

What do you think? Is Tranghese pulling our leg?

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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.

4 thoughts on “The Tranghese Tango

  • May 29, 2008 at 8:28 pm
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    Tranghese is in a tough spot. The best hope for football would be the addition of the Naval Academy.

  • May 29, 2008 at 10:48 pm
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    I think it’s abundantly clear to anyone who looks at the situation logically that Memphis should be offered and accepted. They went to a bowl game last year…can we say that? Their men’s basketball program made it to the final four last year..can we say that? It is a major metropolitian area. Even though their WBB program is pitiful, they still should be the choice. Put them in, get it over with and let’s move on.

  • May 30, 2008 at 9:59 am
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    Ok, OK…we know that Memphis and ECU are dying to get into the BE. What other schools are out there who are actually available????

  • May 30, 2008 at 10:58 am
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    Memphis would be a good choice. Might be a good idea for East Carolina to change its name to something else. Otherwise, not too many options available.

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