Very interesting to go back & read an article like this one from Philly Burbs 3 year and a half years & 4 football seasons later. The author of the article had the Big East dead & buried while he was personally throwing the first shovelful of dirt on its grave. Funny how different things look after the West Virginia win over Georgia last year, the excitement of this year's Big East conference battles, & the routing of the ACC by the Big East in this year's bowls (Louisville over Wake & West virginia over Georgia Tech). In the words of Mark Twain: "Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."
I never find it attractive when someone plays the victim. Here is this journalist with violin, fully tuned, playing "Hearts & Flowers" for the demise of an Eastern "all-sports" conference. (I always love the use of that term when what the user really means is football & basketball. It doesn't matteer how many sports you don't
play, but as long as you play those two, you're "all-sports.") According to the author, Penn Statw was a victim & Temple was a victim. Villains? Pitt, Dave Gavitt & the Big East for not taking Penn State & for abandoning Temple. Hey, whatever happened to taking your best shot, letting the chips fall where they may, & accepting the consequences like a man? Whining over spilt milk is so unattractive . . . especially when some of that milk was spilt a quarter of a century ago.
In this self-pitying piece, the author, whose unprofessional bias is evident as he refers to the Big East as "that smug bunch," describes a jilted Penn State as "the region's dominant team." Well, guess what. There are a lot of sports that Penn State wasn't dominant in - & one of them was basketball, a sport in which Penn State ran what was at best a very pediestrian program then & still does today even after more than a dozen year in the Big Ten. What he meant was that Penn State was the region's dominant football
team. He never explains why it would have been in a basketball conference's interests to add a football school with a bad basketball program.
The author goes on to blame Pitt's decision to go to the Big East as the root of all evil in Eastern sports. He paints Dave Gavitt as the devil in the Garden of Eden, tempting Pitt to this unholy fate. Ignored in all of this is the role of Syracuse & BC lobbying Gavitt to take this action & the two of them being unwilling to leave the big East to join Penn State's proposed all-sports conference. Ignored is the role of Rutgers who actually did receive a Big East invitation but turned it down - the same invitation that the author would like to have seen go to Penn State. Had Rutgers been in the Big East instead of Seton Hall, they would have provided the extra vote to bring PSU into the conference. Ignored most of all is Penn State itself for Joe Paterno's inept efforts to recruit members to an all-sports conference while insisting on 2-for-1 scheduling, Penn State's disingenuous overtures toward Rutgers to keep them in the Eastern Eight & then turning & bolting from that same league after it was too late for Rutgers to accept an invitation to the Big East, & Penn State's designs on the Big Ten long before they joined which would have made any role in the formation of an Eastern all-sports conference or in the Big East a sham as bad as Miami's role in using the Big East to advance its program only to leave for the ACC, the conference home that it wanted all along. Just as Miami blamed the Big East for its own decision to defect, Penn State ass-kissers like this author blame the Big East for Penn State's decision to go to the Big Ten, a direction they were headed in all along. "Don't blame me; the devil (Gavitt) made me do it."
In the author's fanntasy league, Penn State would be playing in an Eastern all-sports league. (Don't ask him how membership in the Big Eaast would have facilitated this). Army & Navy would be playing at a level of competition worthy of inclusion in this BCS league. As would Temple. (He offered no explanation for why they never did when they were there.) And Notre Dame would have joined such a conference! Wow. I want what he's smoking.
The author describes Eastern college sports as "a mess." Well, that "mess" has come together very nicly, thank you very much. And without any help from Penn State.