“I think that everybody is committed to going out and recruiting top-level institutions to enhance the future of the league.” –Tim Pernetti, Athletic Director of Rutgers
The Chancellor put it best: The Big East is scrambling faster the Austro-Hungarians after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. We saw how well that ended for everyone involved. As we told you earlier, athletic directors and presidents of the Big East Div I football schools held a meeting tonight with Big East commissioner John Marinatto at the Grand Hyatt in New York City to discuss the league’s future. FBS-level members included TCU who is scheduled to join the conference in 2012, as well as WVU, Connecticut, Rutgers, South Florida, Cincinnati, and Louisville.
From Rutgers point of view, the future of the Big East looks “very good, certainly from our standpoint,” said President McCormick as he exited the Grand Hyatt. His AD, Tim Pernietti asserted that “It was a positive meeting. Everybody’s committed to going out and recruiting top level institutions.” Earlier in the day, Pernetti had stated on WFAN, “It’s really, at this point, trying to figure out what this is going to be on a going-forward basis before making determination of what’s best for Rutgers.”
All of a sudden, it seems as though the Big East could actually survive the conference realignment circus we have witnessed recently. While the ACC and Big 12 are now in somewhat of a “holding pattern,” and the Pac-12 awaits its vote later in the week as to whether or not commissioner Larry Scott wants to expand his conference, Big East football could actually survive this mess. They’d have to add five schools of course.
Whatever happens with the Big East, you can be sure TCU isn’t going anywhere. As far as Texas is concerned, it will do everything it needs to to make sure TCU doesn’t come back. A high ranking Big 12 source claimed, “Texas really wants to stay in the Big 12 and they don’t want TCU.”
Many thought the Big 12 and Big East would merge after Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC and talk of Rutgers and UConn joining the ACC heated up, however that rumor died quickly because of a lack of mutual interest. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti stated earlier on that WFAN interview that geographical location was a major stumbling block: “If you’re going to geographically disjoint conferences you’re talking about field hockey, soccer and lacrosse traveling halfway across the country to play,” he claimed.
Remember, officially only the SEC has an unbalanced number of teams at 13 (Texas A&M) as of today. For now, it seems that Jim Delaney and the Big Ten are staying quiet and letting the conference expansion noise settle before he makes any moves. Delaney and the Big Ten hold a very strong hand in the expansion game and they’ve been the only ones who have remained completely and utterly quiet, at least in the eye of the public.
John Marinatto’s closing remarks after the 2 1/2 hour meeting were as follows:
“Our membership met this evening and we are committed as a conference to recruit top-level, BCS-caliber institutions with strong athletic and academic histories and traditions. We have been approached by a number of such institutions and remain committed to pursue all options to make the Big East Conference stronger as we have been in both basketball and football in our history.”
If you’re wondering what schools would replace the loss of Pitt and Syracuse, chatter out of the meeting indicated Central Florida, East Carolina and Memphis could be real candidates. If you ask me, I think tonight’s meeting is somewhat of a ploy to buy time so that the remaining Big East programs can figure out what their future looks like. Its the exact same thing that is going on with the Big 12 where Oklahoma wants to pin the blame on Texas for the Big 12 falling apart as opposed to being the first program to leave the dying conference.
It’s inevitable folks, the Big East and Big 12 will probably die, but for now they’re still alive and kicking…