SBD/December 19, 2012/Colleges

Aresco: Challenges Existed When I Joined Big East, But Did Not Foresee Latest Movement

Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco last night said he “knew there would be challenges" when he took over the league four months ago, but acknowledged "nobody could have predicted" conference realignment would have accelerated to its current state. Appearing on CBS Sports Network’s “Courtside with Seth Davis,” Aresco said when he accepted the position, "I knew conference realignment is the world we live in. We were hoping it would calm down. ... We thought we had the league in pretty good shape.” He said the impending departutre of the seven Catholic, non-FBS schools “has been very amicable all the way.” Aresco: “We talked about ways to help everyone and in their case, they felt that they had been buffeted by the shocks of conference realignment for many years and it was all football-related ... and they should at least consider doing something returning to their roots in terms of basketball.” He noted the biggest issue going forward for the Big East is the conference does not know when realignment is going to stop. Aresco: "That’s one of the concerns that everyone has, and it’s one of the concerns that our basketball membership has had.” The remaining Big East member schools have spoken with Aresco via conference calls and “they want to stay together, they believe we have a strong league” (“Courtside with Seth Davis,” CBS Sports Network, 12/18).

MOVE MAKES SENSE: In Philadelphia, Dick Jerardi writes what the seven basketball schools “wanted, more than anything, is to have some control over their athletic futures.” Given what is “at stake in terms of funding all the non-revenue sports, this move makes perfect sense.” Jerardi: “Just don't expect miracles. It is a football world now. Basketball isn't a sideshow, especially not in this town, but football is where the conference powers have control and access to all that television cash. Basketball is still a socialist world where the common good matters, at least a little bit” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/19). Meanwhile, NBC Sports Network’s Vin Parise said the seven schools “cannot admit this right now, but Butler is priority No.1” to join their new conference. It "gets interesting” after Butler, though. Xavier is a “great fit,” with other potential candidates being Dayton, St. Louis, Creighton and Gonzaga (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 12/18).

BE DONE WITH THEM: UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma yesterday discussed the latest round of defections from the Big East and "didn't hold back his thoughts about what this means for his school." Auriemma said, "I hope they all leave tomorrow. But they can't, because we have to play out the (2012-13) schedule. But as soon as it's over, let them go. ... West Virginia did it the right way. ... I hope they all take that approach." He added that he thinks the "Catholic schools stayed in the Big East until there was no more money left in it for them" (HARTFORD COURANT, 12/19).

NOT WORRIED ABOUT IT: Temple currently is a member of the Big East, but men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy said that he “felt good about where Temple is positioned no matter what happens.” Dunphy on Monday said, “We have a wonderful university and a great city, a basketball program that has great history and tradition. I feel really good about where Temple is. But I couldn’t venture a guess as to how everything is going to all come together nor when it’s all going to come together” (PHILLY.com, 12/18).
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