Conference realignment and the 'erosion of trust'

Yesterday we published some quotes from our first AD panel of this year’s Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, but after listening to the tape, we thought it warranted a second entry.

So, here’s more:

Missouri's Mike Alden, whose school moved from the Big 12 to the SEC this year, used the phrase “erosiong of trust” to describe the current climate of secret talks and backroom deals that schools are involved in these days in the rush to put their institutions in better financial position.

One example is Maryland, which recently jumped from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten. Nobody knew it was coming and it was a messy process, said North Carolina State's Debbie Yow, who previously served as Maryland's AD.

"The presidents of the ACC trust each other and had an agreement that they would be contacted" by any school that was considering leaving the conference, Yow said. "That's the trust factor and that didn't occur. I know [ACC Commissioner] John Swofford was trying diligently to get in touch with people and they didn't respond for two days. Not cool.”

More Yow on Maryland: "They're going to be missed, there's no question about that. But they're going to be on a plane going to Madison, Wis., to play men's basketball in the middle of winter. Good luck. I hope the money is really good."For schools considering a move, it's not easy to have those discussions in private knowing that rumors that surface over those talks could hurt negotiations, said Connecticut's Warde Manuel. UConn is one school that has been mentioned as a candidate to move from the Big East Conference to another league, possibly the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"The complications are the discussions we have at the Big East, different conference meetings with presidents and commissioners," said Manuel. "The Big East has done a lot of great things for us and we've done a lot of great things for the Big East, but the landscape has changed. So I wouldn't be doing my due diligence if I didn't continue to look at what else is going on around me as it relates to what's to the benefit of Connecticut."

There are a lot of "side conversations, rumors, innuendo, what's happening out there, what's going to happen," he said. "You just have to get through all that and concentrate on being better."
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