With the ACC looking like the old Big East football conference and the new Big East football conference looking like the old football Conference USA, it seems like the Catholic Big East schools are going to leave the Big East and possibly move to the Atlantic 10. This is very tragic but it was probably inevitable.
A lot of people like to blame the big football schools (BC, Virginia Tech, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt, and Louisville) for abandoning the conference. Truth be told, though Big East football was a direct casualty of the Catholic, non-football playing schools. These schools all insisted on having votes on football matters, having input, and getting a piece of the football money even though they want to be absolved of all responsibility. In particular I'd like to point out four schools that killed Big East football:
1. Notre Dame. This is the obvious one. This is the only one of the non-football schools that fields a FBS football team. Its fans feel like they have a HUGE sense of entitlement and that they should be allowed to do whatever they want and get whatever they want (granted, this season makes them seem like they justify it, but they go based on what they did in the 40s and 50s, not based on what they did in 2012). In order to maintain its independent status it has to make conferences look bad. It had the ability and the vote to do this with the Big East.
2. Georgetown and Villanova. These schools field football teams, although they are FCS teams. Obviously there would be pressure to bump their programs up. But if they can have the power to neutralize Big East football it serves to their advantage economically because of their smaller budgets compared to other schools.
3. Providence. Providence has provided all but the most current Big East commissioners and the conference is based in Providence. This gives Providence a lot of muscle in the direction of the conference. If Providence can rally the non-football schools they will do so. This is how Marquette and (ulp!) DePaul got into the Big East when they only needed to replace football schools.
If this goes through, UConn will remain the only charter member of the Big East. The Big East could have saved themselves had they invited Penn State (almost happened) and Florida State in the 80s. That was the fatal mistake they made early in the conference history. -CSM
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