thanks for the info on gwu...i thought they were public and that's why i included them in the eastern 8/a10. I would still include them in the a10 in my formation b/c of georgetown covering their market in the big east and the a10 needing a school to cover the dc market. they can be the northwestern of the conference (only public with all the privates).
I was trying to stay true to form with the reasons of forming the conferences. The Big East would have never taken GWU because of Georgetown and I don't know how they felt about Duquense so I don't even know if that was a possibility, although I always thought it was odd that the Big East did not want Duquense initially as they were the Catholic School in the Pitt market. The Eastern 8, which was formed as a basketball league, should have stayed focused on big schools, and GWU. From what I can see the Eastern 8 was made up of, no offense, inferior basketball schools. This is why Villanova left the league when the Big East formed because the Big East was where the basketball power was and that is the only thing that mattered at the time. However replacing Nova with Temple, which fit the league's profile, looked to be a smart move. Adding URI too was good.
The problem was the league lost focus. Penn St and Pitt both wanted in the BIG East. Instead of taking charge of their own public school dominated league, the two leaders of the league tried to get into the Big East. When Pitt left, it was a tough break for the league, but it still good have recovered if it had held strong as the public school league (with GWU and Duquense to cover important markets).
However, the league got desperate and added St Joe's and St. Bony who in reality did not fit in with the majority of the league's profile. After Pitt left the Eastern 8 should have only added URI and focused on getting UMass and URI to upgrade. By adding St. Joe's and St. Bony the A10 became half public and half private and really lost focus which made Penn St and prime target to leave. If UMass and URI were able to upgrade the schools would have 6 core members and could have played hardball w/ Pitt, Syracuse, and BC (i.e. join our conference or have fun w/ football scheduling). Metro conference schools with 1A football teams have also been A10 expansion targets instead of St. Bony and St Joe's (FSU, South Carolina, Louisville, Cincinnati, Va Tech, Memphis come to mind). Getting any of those schools to come on board, even as football only, could have gotten an Eastern 8 football league off the ground putting all the pressure on the Big East 3 to join or suffer. As football became even more dominant the pressure would have been more overwhelming and they would have had no choice.