Quick Notes on Big East, Big 12 for 11/2/11
A few notes on the most recent developments…
* As we know, WVU is headed to the Big 12…and they are suing to leave the Big East early. There are a number of takes on the validity and merit of the suit but most seem to think that the goal is simply to get the Big East to agree to a buyout so WVU can leave early.
* That said, the Big 12 expects WVU to be a member next year. It’s an optimistic public stance they must take to show support to their next member.
* With the Big 12 expecting WVU to join next year, it’s a safe assumption that the Big 12 also expects Missouri to be gone next season as having 11 schools makes little sense.
* For Louisville fans hoping to get in the Big 12…it’s not looking good. With Missouri set to leave and WVU joining, the #10 is set. And with BYU not in the conversations for the Big East #12 spot, it lessens the chance of Louisville and BYU joining the Big 12.
* So the path to resurrection now rests in the 6 invites that have/are expected to be extended: Boise St., Air Force and Navy for football only, and SMU, UCF & Houston for all-sports.
* Boise St., UCF, SMU and Houston are reportedly working together on this…as they would be the keys to building enough cache for the conference to get the others on board.
* Air Force and Navy are the keys to the exit fee bump, so one needs to accept for that to kick in ($5 million to $10 million). It’s a safe assumption that even at $10 million, ANY school would leave in a second to join one of the top 5 BCS conferences.
* Air Force wants to join in 2013 to avoid any MWC exit fees…and that timing is a problem for the Big East.
* The CUSA schools face what will be about $9 million in lost revenue ($7 million exit fee plus lost TV revenue). That’s almost $30 million going to the remaining 9 CUSA schools…a pretty nice payday. But in moving to the Big East, it’s a bit of a gamble…as the BCS AQ is not a lock to remain after 2015.
* BYU is very much in the mix for the Big East in a football-only capacity.
* Temple and Memphis as the other schools being considered for the #12 spot. Both would accept. But with Memphis, there might be more pressure to add them as an all-sports member, to take advantage of their basketball program in Memphis, a new market, while Temple has Big East member and fellow Philadelphia school Villanova blocking their all-sports entrance into the Big East. If either school joined as an all-sports member, it would bring the total all-sports members to 17.
* The football only schools would need conference homes for their other sports.
* As for options, there are some rule changes that would need to take place for some conferences to be in play. For instance, the WAC would love to keep Boise St. and bring in Air Force for basketball. But an NCAA rule states that if a conference sponsors FBS football, you may not participate in football in another conference at the same level.
* The Big Sky is another option for both Boise St. and Air Force as it is an FCS football conference without an NCAA conflict. However, the Big Sky only changed their own internal rules to permit associate members in the sport of football (in adding Cal-Poly and UC Davis). They would need to change the rules further to permit non-football members.
* The WCC is a potential option for Air Force, as a partner for BYU.
* Boise St. reached out to the Big West as well. There is a chance that the Big West could be the only option for Boise St.
* The Missouri Valley Conference claimed to not be interested in expansion when the Air Force rumors started in early October.
* If Memphis were selected over Temple (if BYU rejected a football only invite) then Memphis would likely reach out to the Atlantic 10 to join with it’s former CUSA mates Charlotte and St. Louis. Being that Memphis football is such a poor quality product right now, it would seem unlikely that they would be invited without their basketball program.
* Oddly, even with expansion to 12, needing 7 new members, ECU, a school that would accept a football only spot, is not on the radar. It would take 2-3 of the 6 current invitees rejecting the Big East before ECU became a real option.
Big East Overall Expansion Plan:
* The overall expansion idea is simple: if the Big East can get BYU to join as #12 and replace WVU, they would have (2) divisions based on geography…and a championship game to generate more money.
The divisions would likely be:
East: Uconn, Rutgers, Navy, Cincinnati, UCF, USF
West: Louisville, Houston, SMU, Air Force, BYU, Boise St.
The very idea of this 12 school conference is to provide a scaled down version of the original proposed CUSA/MWC partnership that was to be 22 schools. So rather than be 22 schools (or 27 with the Big East schools), the “football partnership” would be only 12, and a mix of large markets and/or powerful schools. Uconn and Rutgers provide NYC access as well as New England.
Big East Spin: What to Expect?
Once these schools accept and join the Big East, you’ll start to hear the spin as to why this is good. On paper, people will see Big EAST and question why this bastard of a combination was even created, spreading from Connecticut to Florida to Texas to Colorado to Idaho and perhaps even Utah.
What you will hear from the Big East spin machine will be:
1) benefit of this smaller 12 school partnership over the larger 22-28 school merger
2) inclusion of so many top metro cities as an appealing option to the TV networks
3) The inclusion of some football options with more national appeal such as Air Force and Navy…as well as media darling Boise St. BYU would be another homerun if they could be convinced to join.
And when people point out the geographic oddity that this conference is?
You’ll hear all about the “zipper” or “travel partners”. I prefer the Noah’s Arc approach: whereby the 12 members will be almost paired with a school near them…and then hundreds of miles away there will be another pair.
Uconn/Rutgers in the northeast
Navy/Temple for mid-atlantic
UCF/USF for Florida/south
Cincinnati/Louisville for the midwest
Houston/SMU for Texas/southwest
Boise St/Air Force for the Mountain/West region
Of course, if BYU were there instead of Temple, you’d hear:
Air Force/Navy for service academy balance
BYU/Boise St. for mountain/west region