friarfan, you make alot of good points but I still find it hard to excuse MT for his http://ncaasports.proboards10.com/index.cgi?board=acc&action=post&thread=1065814164
"e=1066602759&start=30actions...or lack of action in most cases.
You speak very highly of MT, you give him credit for bringing the fball schools together and deftly guiding it through its more than 20 years of existence but you constantly excuse him for all the failures over the years.
College Presidents are highly educated leaders that are at the top of their field, but they aren't exactly sports gurus and don't have their fingers on the pulse of athletics, thus the need for commissioners. I think a commissioner's opinion goes much further than you suggest, if it didn't then the ACC would still be a nine team conference.
I don't think UM and VT used the BE to get into the ACC.
I also think that college football is very important to ALOT of people in the NE, just check out the ratings. The problem is not that North Easterners don't watch college football, the problem is they don't watch BE football, why? Because the product stinks...I honestly believe that if the BE committed to being a solid fball first conference it will not only survive but be one of the strongest leagues in the country. The problem is, in order for the BE to evolve into a solid all sports conference, the bball schools have to be sacrificed.
friarfan, i enjoy your posts. I read several boards and you have quickly become one of my favorite posters. Your posts are always well thought out and somewhat convincing, the only problem is that I usually don't agree... ;) IMO that makes for great discussion and an opportunity to look at this situation from more than one point of view. I think the bottom line is we both want to see the BE not only survive but also thrive. I hope we both see that happen.
NJfan23, the feeling of respect is mutual. I too enjoy the repartee. Thanks for your thoughtful posts. Let me comment on a few of your points.
First, I don't give Tranghese credit for guiding the conference through its first 20 years because he wasn't commissioner for 20 years. Dave Gavitt was its first commissioner & was largely responsible for its early success. I'm simply saying that Mike Tranghese has served the conference well - in various capacities - for a long time & should have earned some appreciation for this.
I don't forgive him for his mistakes. I simply don't know what his mistakes are. I know that they are no where near the level of what he's been blamed for. (I'm not talking about you.) Your comment about 4 months of inaction & then lose another school is exactly the point. MT can't take any action. Only the conference through the votes of its members can act. MT repeatedly projected timelines for action, which he repeatedly had to revise & postpone. Why do you think he's responsible for this inaction? It seems obvious to me that he wanted to act quickly but that he couldn't get the Big East members to move forward. I don't know if anyone could have.
I'll simply repeat that the hybrid nature of the Big East makes the internal politics much more complicated than any other conference. This is a complicated situation with many conflicting needs & a situation in which it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain consensus. In addition, any Big East Commissioner who took the position that the conference should split should be fired - & probably would be. The commissioneer is hired to serve the needs of ALL the members, not the interests of some. The vision for an all-sports conference needed to come from someone other than the commissioner, i.e. individual institutions who desired that. The formation of the Big East originally came from indiviuals at individual colleges. A new Break Away Big East would grow out of the same initiatives at the institutional level - not by a commissioner ripping apart his own conference. That's not what he is hired to do.
I agree that a conference commissioner's influence goes a long way. But in the end, it is still only influence. He is not the key decision maker - as the ACC example proved. John Swofford deserves credit for guiding the ACC through its 18 month study of expansion, but if I recall the initiative for that committee & its study came from one of the univiersities. (Georgia Tech?) The point is that these things often develop through many informal conversations - some initiated by the commissioner. A wise commissioner will be able to take the pulse of his membership & nudge it in the direction that the consensus supports. He can't get it here simply because he stands up & makes a persuasive speech or lobbies behind the scenes. Miami didn't get what it wanted because there weren't enough other members who agreed with them. In the end they were wise to find a conference that did agree with them.
UM & VPI both used the Big East in different ways to upgrade their programs. Miami used it to upgrade their image, which was unpalatable to the ACC at the time UM joined the Big east - as others have pointed out. VPI used the Big East to upgrade its football program, which was terrible when they joined the league (2-9 the previous season.). The make-over by both schools made them acceptable & desirable to the ACC as a result.
I agree with your point that Notheastern college football fans watch schools from other regions because the Eastern product stinks. This has been at the heart of my position all along. The individual conference members had the responsibility to make this marriage work. They didn't. Um & VPI deserve credit for using the Big East platform to improve their programs - especially Tech. Why the heck didn't Temple or Rutgers do this - both of whom have been in steady decline. Why has Syracuse joined them in decline since McNabb left? How can the commissioner possibly be responsible for any of this? It was the responsibility of the member universities to strengthen their programs. Do you think that Miami or Tech looked forward to trips to Temple & Rutgers each year - with the paltry fan turn-out & accompanying lack of revenue? Did these games help their strength of schedule? Ultimately, though, these are Southern schools who long ago made their preferences for membership in a Southern conference known - before they joined the Big East. When things weren't perfect in the Big East, there were already plenty of "I-told-you-so's?" among their alumni & fans ready to apply the pressure to move them in another direction.
I find the comment that the basketball schools had to be sacrificed to be astounding! This absolves the football schools completely from any responsibility for the current situation and goes back to my original point of last week. Why the heck did the football schools join a basketball confrence & then complain that they were in a hybrid?! No one handed the Big East control of the Northeast for college sports. They gained a following, TV cointracts, etc. because of the product they put on the floor & on the field. The football schools had every opportunity to do the same thing on multiple occasions. You are now suggesting that having joined the Big East hybrid, the football members should stage an internal palace coup & "sacrifice" the basketball members - kick them out of their conference - the one that they founded & to which they gave credibility?
I happen to agree that the football schools should split & form an all-sports conference. But they should do so by leaving the Big East, not by kicking out its founding members (which they would never have the votes to do anyway, so it can never happen regardless of who the commissioner is). It akes a 75% vote to remove a member. The football schools should do what they should have done decades ago & form their own conference - & then put the product on the field to make the league a winner.