So much for the speculation about the Big East merging with the ACC huh? In a matter of one day, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have managed to shake the entire foundation of the Big East to its core after making the hugely controversial choice to bolt the scene in favor of the ACC. Shortly after that news broke, rumors started flying around that Rutgers and UConn will be joining them shortly. If those rumors turn out to be true, this is a major landscape shift for the NCAA and could start the domino effect that sees other schools like Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State choose their future destinations as well.
Big East fans nationwide are most likely cursing this right now as the storied history of this once proud conference is waning by the minute. Syracuse was an original member of the conference when it formed in 1979 and West Virginia was another senior member after joining in 1982. It is clear that both of these teams have a long highlight filled history that few fans and alumni will want to forget.
No more Syracuse vs Georgetown twice a year? How about the “Backyard Brawl” between Pittsburgh and West Virginia? Now while I was raised in the northeast, these are just a few examples of the intense rivalries the Big East has forged and ones that have undoubtedly captivated audiences nationwide, not just in the surrounding areas where those teams play. Will these schools still be able to keep these storied rivalries alive even though they will be representing different conferences as soon as three years from now? The NCAA states that schools have to give 27 months notice if they desire a move to another conference. The schools that decide to leave the Big East must pay an exit fee believed to be five million dollars.
Obviously none of that deterred Pittsburgh and The Cuse from exiting stage left. Some will call them hypocrites, others will label them money hungry and selfish. I myself know one thing is for sure. I will be cherishing any and all Big East hoops this year and the next. That might be the last time we get to witness what has largely become known as the most prestigious and most talented league in the country at its full potential. A sad day indeed.