SBD/September 23, 2011/Colleges

Some Big East Schools Want Pitt And Syracuse Gone Sooner Rather Than Later

Some schools think Big East basketball became "too great for its own good"
Some Big East members would like to see Syracuse and Pittsburgh "gone as soon as possible," according to a source cited by Mike DeCourcy of SPORTING NEWS. Big East Commissioner John Marinatto "has declared he will hold Syracuse and Pitt to the 27-month time frame for exit mandated by the league charter." But some conference members' basketball programs feel the "eventual departure of Pitt and Syracuse will provide some breathing room, that the league had become too great for its own good." There is a "feeling among some Big East member schools that if the league can withstand the initial disappointment about Pitt's and Syracuse's departures and locate adequate partners for the football side of their operation, the league's strong position in the heavily populated Northeast and in large media markets such as Tampa still has value" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 9/22). CBSSPORTS.com's Chip Patterson noted "regardless of when Syracuse and Pittsburgh leave, it does seem as though the realignment shift has begun to slow -- at least for the moment." The Pac-12 "expressed no interest in expanding at this time, and it does not appear that the Big Ten has any desire to either." Patterson noted with Texas and Oklahoma "recommitting themselves to the Big 12 under new leadership, it is likely that Missouri will not be making any moves to the East anytime soon" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/22).

NOT DIVING IN YET: Navy AD Chet Gladchuk Thursday said that the school "has spoken to the Big East about possible membership, but wants to wait and see how the league solidifies before making any decisions." Gladchuk said that Navy "has not received an invitation, but it was close to an agreement to become a football-only member before Pitt and Syracuse bolted for the ACC." Gladchuk: "I think right now I'd be more comfortable making certain they're comfortable with themselves, and they've got a little bit of work to do." ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson noted Navy has been "hugely successful as an independent, having averaged eight wins in the past 10 seasons, with eight straight bowl appearances." The academy also has "its own bowl affiliations and a television deal with CBS." Gladchuk has "some concern with reports that not all Big East members are fully on-board with the future of the league." UConn is "still looking at a move to the ACC, and Rutgers reportedly has gauged interest with the Big Ten and ACC" (ESPN.com, 9/22). Gladchuk: "Our position isn't one of panic. It's one of evaluation and opportunity. We need to make sure Navy doesn't lose its position as a program that is nationally respected" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/23).

SEEKING DOUBLE DIGITS: ORANGEBLOODS.com's Chip Brown cited sources as saying that TCU "may be rising up the list of candidates to become" the 10th school in the Big 12. While BYU "has been the popular thought as a replacement for Texas A&M," a source said that BYU "may no longer be interested in joining the Big 12 because of recent instability" (ORANGLEBLOODS.com, 9/22). TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini Wednesday said that the school "remains dedicated to joining the Big East Conference in July as scheduled" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 9/22). ESPN DALLAS' Jeff Caplan wrote the Big East "is in survival mode and, in the irony of ironies, the Big 12 -- the same league that has continually alienated TCU -- can potentially land the death blow to the Frogs' new conference." If the nine-team Big 12 "decides to expand to 12 (the internal debate is either 10 teams or a dozen), Big East members Louisville and Cincinnati are among the reported targets, along with BYU" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 9/22).
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