Boston Globe - 11/26/04. Mark Blaudschun.
Interview with BC AD DeFilippo.
DeFilippo quote when asked if he could go back in time and change things.
" I'd love to go back to the early 1980's and get Ted Aceto to change his vote on Penn State."
The comment was made in reference to the Nova AD casting the deciding vote that kept Penn St. out of the Big East. Had the vote been different everything else might have changed, because the BE would have had Penn St. as an anchor, along with Syracuse, Pitt, and Boston College, and the addition of Miami would have made the conference a solid East Coast factor.
This would be laughable if it weren't so sad. :'(
It's unfortunate that we have turned into a country of whiners who want to blame everyone else for our problems. No one seems to want to take responsibility for their own actions any more. If Gene DeFilippo wants to know where to look to place blame for the problems in Eastern football, all he has to do is to look in the mirror. And I say this is someone who is a fan of Boston College, who has attended their games regularly over the years, & who paid 4 years of tuition there (for my daughter).
It took a lot of nerve for DeFilippo to make this statement at a time when BC had just abandoned Eastern football for the second time. How convenient for him to retreat to a situation 22 years earlier to find a scapegoat for the actions of himself & his university president who had just stabbed the other Eastern schools in the back - & then whined further that they shouldn't have to pay the fine that they had helped craft & had agreed to months earlier.
Unfortunately the factual record does not support DeFilippo's statement:
1. Joe Paterno is on the record as saying that Penn State was never interested in joining the Big East, that he had approached ADs at BC & Syracuse about forming an all-sports conference. What this says to me is that BC & Syracuse tried to hedge their bets by getting the rest of the BE members to offer an invitation to Penn State - an offer that Paterno says PSU would never have accepted. BC & Syracuse wanted to have their cake & eat it too.
I am returning to these boards after a long absence, and wish to say that I have found your posts to be amongst the best since GunnerFan and I used to post here.
But, while JoePa may have insisted that Penn State never wanted admittance into the Big East, the fact remains they did, and both Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese have publicly supported Jake Crouthamel's version of what happened.
The three "No" votes have never publicly been revealed, but I have it on pretty good authority that they were St. John's, Georgetown, and Seton Hall. So I have no idea why DeFillippo is fingering Nova, who was a partner with Penn State in the Eastern 8 just a few years earlier.
2. What it would have taken in 1982 is the same thing that it would take now to form an all-sports conference. The football schools would have to leave the Big East with the safety & security that it provides. Nothing is gained in this world without some risk. In 1982, BC & Syracuse were not risk takers. The football schools have yet to show themselves to be risk takers today.
I agree, that had Penn State joined the Big East back in 1982, and Pitt would have followed at #10 within 2 years, the 4 cornerstones of northeastern football would still have been independent from 84-88. But there was no need for SU and BC to risk anything back in 1982 when being indy was still worthwhile and JoePa was insisting upon an imbalance of football monies going to the Nits but an equal share of basketball proceeds.
What might have been different was when the landscape started to change in the late 80s - it might have been much easier to be risk-takers for all four (BC, Syracuse, and Pitt to leave the security of the Big East and Penn State to capitulate on their demand for a much higher amount of the football monies) if they had been conference members together for a period of 4 years or more.
On the other hand, Bryce Jordan was determined to get Penn State into the Big 10 - so that might have happened anyway (assuming he would have been president, as I'll get into below) - which means that Syracuse and BC were right to be conservative in this regard. After all, JoePa and Penn State did pull out of the old Eastern 8 by slipping a note under the commissioner's door.
3. In 1982, the Big East was not interested in adding 2 schools, so if an offer had been made & Penn State were to have accepted it, Pitt would have been left hanging out to dry. Pitt was a good fit for the Big East in 1982, which is why they were admitted. Penn State was not, which is why an invitation was never offered.
IMHO, that is purely conjecture. Certainly a possibility, but not a definite. Penn State was the oddball since it was rural and a football school, not a basketball school. They were the much tougher sell - especially since JoePa did not endear himself with a lot of Eastern athletics people. My own opinion is that Pitt would have gotten in regardless, but it might have taken a year or two more at most.
4. The post further assumes that BOTH Pitt & Miami would have later been admitted. When Miami was admitted, it brought the Big East membership to 10. Later actions of adding associate members showed that the Big East was not interested in expanding beyond 10 until much later. Thre is no way that Miami would have been admitted if the conference was at 10 members with both Penn State & Pitt. There is no way that Miami would have accepted associate membership. With Penn state in the fold, the Big East would not have felt the pressure necessary to take on Miami with all of its problems.
Agree. I think the Big East would have been 10 members by 1989 and assuming the Nits were not tempted by a Big 10 offer, what happened to the Big East in the early 90s is probably what would have happened - only with Penn State taking Miami's place in the scheme of things.
The other possibility was that there would have been a split with West Virginia, Rutgers, VT, and Temple joining the other 4 for a new Eastern 8.
6. The critical assumption to all of the speculation about Penn State & the Big East is that Penn State, once admitted to the Big East, would have stayed as the anchor & that everything would have been built around them. They woudl have been the cornerstone for football, the lynchpin. Well, as Miami later showed, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you read the comments of Bryce Jordan, Penn State president (1983-1990), he had his sight set on Big Ten membership from the time he took office. And not because Penn state was not a member of any conference at that time, but because he believed that Penn State was associated athletically with a group of Eastern colleges & universities that were not their peers - his words, not mine. Big East membership would not have changed this view; it would only have reinforced it. Jordan had a vision for the university - not just the Athletic Dept. - & that vision would have brought Penn State to the Big Ten regardless of any other developments with the possible exception of ACC membership.
Ah, but the above assumes Bryce Jordan, a Texan if I remember correctly, would have become President of Penn State if the Lions were a member of the Big East. A conference affiliation with the likes of Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse, and Boston College might have yielded an entirely different candidate pool for that job, which in turn might have led to someone else getting the presidency. Keep in mind that Penn State was hardly an academic powerhouse at that time.
7. Finally, Penn State in the Big East would not have changed the basic dilemma which has exsited in this conference ever since it decided to add football. And that dilemma is its hybrid form. The same dynamics that eventually drove Miami from the conference would have haunted Penn State as well. Joining a basketball-only conference, which included 6 basketball-only charter members was never a solution to Eastern football for Penn State or anyone else.
Perhaps, but on the other hand, having a Penn State in the fold from the early 1980s onward might have resulted in a Connecticut and a Villanova being more willing to invest in football as a sport at a higher level as well. The dynamics again could have been entirely different.
At this point in time, trying to project what might have happened is a fun, but fruitless exercise. But it helps the dog days of July go by before football pre-season begins. ;)