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Volume 24 No. 112


Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco said a deal between the conference and ESPN during the two sides' exclusive negotiating window that runs through October is “not anywhere near done," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Aresco said there has been "a lot of interest expressed to us by other networks.” Hamilton notes that means “things will truly ramp up as the deadline approaches.” Aresco: "We have two sports that are equally important, and they can help each other. The basketball-only schools derive great benefit from being with our football-basketball schools. The football-basketball schools benefit from the wonderful, strong heritage of the basketball schools. That, together, will mean a lot as we talk to the various networks." Meanwhile, Aresco said of the possibility of a seventh bowl game added to the top tier of the new college football postseason, "You've read about the seventh bowl that commissioners are considering that we think eventually will happen. That'll give the Big East needed access to the highest level of the new system. ... It would be a contract bowl where you'd have to put the bowl together but would have obviously semifinal games. I really can't talk about it any more than that. Nothing finalized yet. But we're reasonably sure it will afford the Big East a path to the postseason system, which is so important for your champion." Aresco said of the possibility of a Big East TV network, “We’ll also be very creative. We’re not ruling anything out at this point” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/6).

CHANGE ISN'T EASY: Georgetown Univ. men’s basketball coach John Thompson III said the Big East has gone from “unquestionably the best basketball conference in the country to now we’re just arguably the best basketball conference in the county.” But in DC, Liz Clarke notes Thompson “insists reports of the Big East’s demise are grossly exaggerated.” Thompson said, “Intercollegiate athletics is going through an evolution. We’re in the midst of it. It’s not close to being over.” Thompson added, "We have lost what have been traditionally key members. But the Big East still has New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and Houston. We’re going through change. We’re going to look different tomorrow than we did yesterday. But there’s no need to cry for us” (WASHINGTON POST, 10/5).

The Univ. of Notre Dame in its move to the ACC "will contend with logistical challenges in everything from scheduling to travel to signage in a process that could cost $20 million, just to start," according to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. When choosing to change conferences, schools "clearly figure it's worth it to ensure the future and eventually recoup their initial investment." The Univ. of Missouri this year moved from the Big 12 to the SEC, and AD Mike Alden said, "It has been a hefty undertaking from a time-on-task standpoint, as far as time and effort is concerned. That has been a challenge for a lot of people. It also can be tough emotionally." Hamilton noted MU "forfeited $14.1 million in revenue distribution that represented its Big 12 exit fee." Also, the school's travel budget "increased by $800,000," and signage changes involving "everything from SEC patches for uniforms to tearing up FieldTurf at the football stadium ... added roughly another $1.5 million to the tab." Alden said, "In total, you're probably looking somewhere between, I would guess, $17 (million) to $20 million to be able to make a change." Hamilton noted that is "merely the financial investment." Time and effort "outlay might exceed that." Texas A&M this year also moved from the Big 12 to the SEC, and AD Eric Hyman said of scheduling issues, "It's a work in progress, and there's still choppy weather ahead." He added, "There are still some nuances we have to work through. It's a spirit of cooperation. It's some of the sacrifices you have to make when you make a transition. There are sacrifices by some of the schools in the SEC and sacrifices by Texas A&M" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/7).