SBD/March 13, 2013/Colleges

Big East Yet To Discuss Financials For New League; Name Still To Be Determined

A six-member panel will decide how to split exit fees from schools leaving the Big East
Univ. of Central Florida AD Todd Stansbury yesterday said that despite reports of in-fighting between football schools in the Big East, there "have been no discussions about the finances of the new, yet-to-be-named conference," according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. He added that the group "will not meet until next week to begin sorting through the new leagues finances." Stansbury: "You've got schools that are coming in at different times, so there are still a lot of moving parts that need to be discussed and vetted. I know everyone is talking about a set dollar figure, but it's a lot more complex than that because it's not like at the end of all this we're going to have $100 million sitting in a bank account somewhere." Stansbury is "part of a six-member panel that will decide how to split exit fees, NCAA Tournament credits and reserve funds left behind by defecting members." The new conference agreed to a TV contract with ESPN "far short of what the school expected." Stansbury said that the contract "could not be signed until the Catholic 7 and Notre Dame departures were completed." He said, "We all would have liked a lot more money. But given where we are, it's better than where we have been in the past." Meanwhile, Stansbury "chuckled at the fallout" after the name "America 12" was reported as the new conference name. He said there had been a discussion "including some creative and some not-so-creative ideas from various ADs and presidents," but that it was "blue sky thinking." Stansbury said that the Big East has "hired a public relations firm, Ketchum, to lead the naming efforts" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/13). 

SORTING IT ALL OUT: AJERSEYGUY.com's Mark Blaudschun wrote the issue of what to call the current Big East after the Catholic 7 split "will receive the most immediate attention." Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said that the league "will listen to all suggestions, but the term Metro ... is picking up support." He added that the goal is "to have a 12 team, 2 division league." Tulsa "remains the favorite as the 12th team." Meanwhile, the Catholic 7 are "expected to hold an informational meeting" today in N.Y. to "set the agenda for the future." The main topics include expansion, with Butler and Xavier as "the primary targets" and Creighton "not far behind, which will give the new Big East a 10 team league" for '14. Staffing also will be discussed, with the main question being "where to set up." Providence and DC "remain the main contenders." Staying in Providence will "make it easier to cherry pick the current Big East staff, many who will be necessary for a smooth transition." There is "no direction yet" in terms of leadership at the top, but St. John's AD Chris Monasch "reportedly is working the circuit of power brokers." The timing of this "remains crucial since there is a lot of work to be done, much of it behind the scenes, which is vital to the success of the conference" (AJERSEYGUY.com, 3/12).

IS THE GRASS REALLY GREENER? In Tulsa, John Klein writes it is an "uncomfortable alliance that brings together 12 schools for the Conference USA Basketball Tournament in Tulsa this week." Why teams are leaving C-USA for "a new league with no name and basically the same teams is emblematic of everything that is wrong with conference realignment." The league "so many C-USA schools seem eager to join has no name, no history and no details of an agreement." There are "good reasons why Boise State and San Diego State jumped at the first chance to abandon the no-name league and return to the Mountain West Conference" (TULSA WORLD, 3/13). SPORTING NEWS' Lisa Olson wrote the Big East "will live on in name, a bland wanna-be that can't possibly capture three decades worth of grit and magic and plain ol' NYC nuttiness" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/12).

TAKING IT ALL IN: VCU President Michael Rao said of conference realignment, "We’re watching it very closely, and I’m staying very close to these discussions. I’m listening more than anything else." He added, "I’ve stayed very close to the Atlantic 10 presidents. I have had some discussions with some of the Big East presidents. I certainly have had some discussions with some of the presidents in other leagues as well. I’m trying to keep a handle on what’s going on." Meanwhile, Rao said of the school's athletic facilities, "We’re short. For a program and university of this size, we really do need to continue to expand our facilities. I’m worried about all the sports. I want to be sure that they all have decent facilities. I also think it’s important for us to think about what we’ll need 50 years from now, 20 years from now, and even 10 years from now" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 3/13).
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