Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is the Big East in big trouble?

Monday's resignation of Big East commissioner John Marinatto marks the beginning of the latest death watch for the conference. Underlying Marinatto's departure is growing tension between the traditional Big East basketball schools with the schools putting football ahead of the hardwood. Between the planned departure to the ACC by Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the departure of West Virginia to the Big 12, and the planned addition of Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, SMU, and Temple, the basketball schools are reportedly feeling like second class citizens in the conference.

If there is a common thread, it is that football once again is at the top of the agenda, which makes the core group of basketball-playing Catholic schools nervous; a split within the conference appears to be more of a possibility than ever before.
Included in that group are Marquette, Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, DePaul, and St. John’s, with the possibility of Xavier, Dayton, and even Butler (although Butler has committed to the Atlantic 10) being targeted as part of a 10-team - primarily Catholic - basketball conference. (Notre Dame said it would not take part in a split.)

Add to that the possibility of Louisville joining West Virginia in the Big 12, and the Big East could be in a bit of a big hurt. Though another raid on Conference USA could keep the conference in at least a working state for whatever new playoff scheme comes into effect.

Still, all the chaos could lead current schools like Rutgers and UConn to look for greener and more stable pastures. If that is the case, all bets would be off, and the Big East could finally be down for the count.

(via The Boston Globe)

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