|ACC (20)||BIG 10 (20)||CUSA (20)||MWC (20)||PAC 10 (20)||SEC (20)|
|ARMY||IN||Akron||ARK State||Air Force||AL|
|Cinn||MI||Buffalo||CO State||IA State||FIU|
|Duke||OSU||Eastern MI||KS State||OR State||GA|
|Louisville||Pitts||Northern IL||LA Tech||OR State||Houston|
|NAVY||PSU||Miami (OH)||Mid TN State||Stanford||LSU|
|West VA||Syracuse||Western MI||TCU||WA State||Vanderbilt|
|Clemson||IL||Ball State||Boise State||AZ||ARK|
|FL State||KS||Kent State||Fresno State||CO||LA-Monroe|
|NC||NE||South’n MS||Rice||OK State||MS|
|NC State||Northw’tern||Tulane||TX Tech||S Diego St.||MS State|
|UCF||Notre Dame||Tulsa||UNLV||S Jose St.||SMU|
|Wake Forrest||WI||Western KY||WY||USC||TX A&M|
|A. The ACC, Big 10, Pac 10 and SEC are known as Super Premier Conferences (SPC). CUSA and MWC are Super Conferences (SC). The difference between SPC and SC is that SPC can have up to 3 teams from their respective conference to be represented at the Bowl Championship Series. A SC can only have top two teams, unless the SPC is unable to produce a third team.|
|B. The strongest team amongst the conference will play the weakest qualified team irrespective of its position in the conference and in accordance to the number of games won and statistics of its winning success. The following is the format of a BCS playoffs:-|
|BCS Championship Series|
|Sweet 16||Elite 8||Final 4||Champ’ship||Champion|
21 thoughts on “New Future Look of the NCAA College Super Conferences”
DOJ Asks NCAA Why No Playoff for College Football
Published : Wednesday, 04 May 2011, 4:41 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 04 May 2011, 4:41 PM CDT
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
WASHINGTON (AP) The Justice Department has sent a pointed letter to the NCAA asking why there isn’t a playoff system for college football, saying “serious questions” continue to be raised about whether the current Bowl Championship Series complies with federal antitrust laws.
Critics have urged the department to launch an antitrust investigation into the BCS, saying that it unfairly gives some schools preferential access to the national championship game and top-tier bowls.
In a letter this week, the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, Christine Varney, asked NCAA President Mark Emmert why college football doesn’t use a playoff system to determine its national champion, while other NCAA sports do; what steps the NCAA has taken to create one, and whether Emmert thinks there are aspects of the BCS system that don’t serve the interest of fans, schools and players.
“Your views would be relevant in helping us to determine the best course of action with regard to the BCS,” she wrote.
Varney noted that the attorney general of Utah, Mark Shurtleff, has announced that he plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS, and that 21 professors recently sent the department a letter asking for an antitrust investigation.
Shurtleff, who met with DOJ officials last fall to discuss a possible federal probe, said at the time that such an investigation was critical to the effort to get a playoff system.
“You get the DOJ behind one and the BCS will finally say, `OK, we’ll go to a playoff,”’ Shurtleff predicted.
Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS, who was copied in on the letter, said he was confident that the BCS complies with the law.
“Goodness gracious, with all that’s going on in the world right now and with national and state budgets being what they are, it seems like a waste of taxpayers’ money to have the government looking into how college football games are played,” he said.
The NCAA had no immediate comment on the letter.
Under the BCS, the champions of six conferences have automatic bids to play in top-tier bowl games, while the other conferences don’t. Those six conferences also receive more money than the other conferences.
Attorney General Eric Holder referenced Varney’s letter at a Senate hearing Wednesday, in response to a statement from Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and BCS critic. Hatch called the BCS a “mess,” and said that “privileged conferences” have tremendous advantages over the unprivileged.
“And I just hope that you’ll continue to follow up on that particular issue,” he said. “It’s an important one, I think.”
“I don’t disagree with you,” Holder responded. “You and I have talked about this issue, and I think I’m free to say that we have sent a letter to the NCAA about this issue and will be following up.”
Hatch also has urged the department to begin an antitrust investigation. Last year, the department told him in a letter that the Obama administration was considering several steps that would review the legality of the BCS. The department said then that it was reviewing Hatch’s request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.
Before he was sworn in as president, Barack Obama said in 2008 that he was going to “to throw my weight around a little bit” to nudge college football toward a playoff system.
Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler contributed to this report.
Source: Big 12 lined up against A&M
By Andy Katz and Joe Schad
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Texas A&M’s move to the SEC ultimately would happen if Oklahoma stays put in the Big 12, but until that occurs eight of the remaining nine Big 12 schools will not waive their right to pursue litigation against the SEC and A&M, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
Playing the ‘what if’
Let’s pause for a moment during all of this alignment chatter and remember there is another major sport affected by these decisions: men’s basketball, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz writes. Blog
During Wednesday’s conference call of the Big 12’s board of directors, the source said it was made clear that the SEC was unwilling to accept the Aggies until the rest of the Big 12 schools waived their right to sue. The confusion arose from a letter that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive on Sept. 2, in which Beebe stated that the Big 12’s board of directors — not the individual schools — wouldn’t pursue litigation.
“This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change,” Beebe said in a statement Wednesday. He added that the waiver “did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights.”
During Wednesday’s call, the source said Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin asked if the schools would waive their right to litigation and only one — Oklahoma — agreed to do so. Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State would not, the source said.
There is still hope for the Aggies’ SEC membership if Oklahoma were to decide to remain in the Big 12. During the call, Oklahoma stated that it was exploring its options and would decide soon whether it will commit to the Big 12 or not.
If Oklahoma were to pursue membership in another conference, it could look West toward the Pac-12. A source with knowledge of Oklahoma’s situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday that there was not a consensus in OU’s administration whether to stay. The source said at least one high-level OU official wasn’t in favor of moving to a 16-team conference.
“If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M,” Beebe said in his statement. “In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”
Member presidents of the SEC unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept Texas A&M. Last Friday the SEC received written assurance from the Big 12 that it was free to accept A&M as a member, Florida president/SEC chairman Dr. Bernie Machen said.
“We were notified (Tuesday) afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” Machen said in a statement Wednesday. “The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.”
According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, a source close to Texas A&M characterized Baylor as “the ringleader” in the attempt to keep A&M in the Big 12.
“We are being held hostage right now,” Loftin said of being forced to stay in the Big 12. “Essentially, we’re being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans for example and makes us free people.”
Texas A&M had planned a celebration and news conference at their College Station campus for Wednesday but that is now on hold.
Meanwhile, if Oklahoma commits to the Big 12 and Texas A&M leaves for the SEC, the Big 12 is going to pursue BYU as a 10th member, according to the source. The source said there was strong interest from the Cougars prior to last week’s comments from Oklahoma president David Boren that the Sooners were exploring their options. BYU, formerly of the Mountain West, is an independent in football and its other remaining sports compete in the West Coast Conference.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN.
Oklahoma is debating whether staying in the Big 12 or pursuing a move to the Pac-12 makes sense for the long-term stability of the school’s athletic interests, including weighing the idea of leaving the footprint of neighboring states that makes travel easier for the Sooners’ passionate fan base.
A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that the Sooners were perfectly happy in the Big 12, even after Nebraska left for the Big Ten, thanks to the conference’s new 13-year television deal with Fox worth $90 million annually and three remaining years on an existing contract with ESPN/ABC that was paying out $65 million a year. The money was split among 10 teams instead of 12, thanks to the loss of the Cornhuskers and Colorado, which ended up in the Pac-12.
However, Texas A&M’s announcement to leave the Big 12 next summer started the process of Oklahoma reconsidering its situation, the source said.
Texas A&M’s letter to the Big 12 said that it would leave the conference on June 30, 2012, provided it receives an invitation to join another conference, the source said. The Southeastern Conference has not yet voted to extend an offer to the Aggies, meaning they could, conceivably, remain in the Big 12. But that is unlikely.
Oklahoma president David Boren created a stir Friday when he said that the Sooners had interest from other conferences. But a source with knowledge said there is a lot of internal discussion about whether going to a 16-team super conference in football is the right decision for Oklahoma’s program.
The 10 remaining Big 12 schools were committed to remaining together until emotions became involved, the source said — pointing to Texas A&M’s stated frustrations with Texas’ Longhorn Network, which is run in partnership with ESPN. The source said the Oklahoma executive board became anxious about the school’s athletics stability after the Aggies announced their intention to leave.
A source within the Pac-12, who has knowledge of the conferece’s decision-making process, said the league doesn’t feel it needs to expand beyond its current structure. And another source questioned whether the Pac-12 would expand to 16 without both Oklahoma and Texas — especially the Longhorns. The Pac-12 signed a lucrative television contract worth $3 billion over 12 years with ESPN and Fox earlier this year, making the conference less likely to need to beg schools to join it.
One casualty of Texas and Oklahoma splitting up would be the Red River Rivalry, which dates back 111 years. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said during his weekly news conference Tuesday that “I don’t think it’s necessary” to keep playing.
“No one wants to hear that,” Stoops said. “But life changes. If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree.”
But Stoops said it’s possible that conference realignment could affect the series the same way the inception of the Big 12 effectively ended OU’s annual rivalry with Nebraska.
“If it works, great, I love the game,” he said. “But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.
I’m not lobbying for anything. I’ll stick to whatever president [David] Boren and [athletic director] Joe Castiglione feel is best for the university. I’m all in.”
A Pac-12 source reacted to Stoops’ comments Tuesday, saying, “Why is 16 inevitable? If we’re going to 16 there better be enough money. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk at all that we’re going to add more.”
The potential move toward a 16-team football conference is met with skepticism from some who have dealt with a large conference in the past.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson was atop the league when it had 16 football members from 1996 to ’98, playing three seasons before it dissolved once eight schools left to form the Mountain West. The WAC went to four “pods” to deal with scheduling.
“The two prerequisites for a 16-team league to survive is you have to have everyone committed going into it,” Benson said. “You can’t have any schools having any reservations. I’ve always believed that a 20-team league might be easier to manage. In a 20-team league you could have two 10-team divisions, everyone play nine games and then have a true champion. It would eliminate the imbalance in scheduling.
“Can a 16-team league work? It can work if all 16 schools want it to work,” Benson said. “The failure of the WAC was that there wasn’t enough money to keep some of the schools from feeling that there wasn’t equity in the league — enough to keep BYU and Utah happy. It imploded from within.”
The Big East is currently a 16-team basketball league, but it has only eight FBS-playing members.
If the Big 12 were to lose one to four members to various conferences, the Big East would likely swoop in to pick apart what is left. A source with knowledge of the situation said the Big East order would be Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State if it were to decide to go to 20 overall teams. TCU joins the league in all sports in 2012.
If the Big East added three more schools, in addition to TCU (which is set to join the conference next fall), it would have 12 football-playing schools.
“I can’t figure out why bigger is better,” former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said. “I don’t see it. Fewer conferences means more losers with so many teams in one league. It would be so hard to operate. I ask myself the same question since I was in the room with so many of these people: Where would the money come from that these schools would make more money going to 16?
“People have said to me that we were big, and we were, but we had no choice,” Tranghese said of expanding to 16 schools under his watch after the ACC grabbed Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech. “These other conferences would have a choice. They’re electing to [possibly expand to 16 teams]. I haven’t figured out why. I don’t know why they want to get bigger but it seems like it’s headed in that direction.”
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
Colorado joins Pac-10 and becomes 1st school to officially leave Big 12
By: Aaron Heintzelman
BOULDER, Colorado – The University of Colorado has accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10 conference, becoming the first school to make the official leap from the Big 12, the Pac-10 announced Thursday on their website.
“This is an historic moment for the Conference, as the Pac-10 is poised for tremendous growth,” said conference commissioner Larry Scott. “The University of Colorado is a great fit for the Conference both academically and athletically and we are incredibly excited to welcome Colorado to the Pac-10.”
Colorado chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said the university is proud to accept the invitation from the most prestigious academic and athletic conference in the nation.
Colorado will become the conference’s first new member since 1978.
University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson called the school and the conference a perfect match.
“Our achievements and aspirations match those of the universities in the conference and we look forward to a productive relationship,” Benson said.
KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, reports the move would have to be approved by the Board of Regents, but it was not immediately known if that hurdle had been cleared.
A news conference is scheduled for noon CDT Friday to formally announce the move.
Word of the move comes just a day after reports surfaced that Nebraska was leaving Big 12 country for the Big Ten, further strengthening the chances the Big 12 Conference will be no longer.
“The Big 12 Conference has been informed that the University of Colorado has accepted an invitation to join the Pacific-10 Conference,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said in a prepared statement posted on the conference website. “I continue to work through the process that was agreed upon last week by our Board of Directors to address membership issues, and are working tirelessly towards the long-term viability of the Big 12.”
The Pac-10 is also close to making official offers to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M, according to several reports.
Gary Shutt, spokesman for Oklahoma State University, released the following statement Thursday
“The report circulating about an immediate announcement today concerning Oklahoma State University and conference realignment is without merit. There are no announcements planned by Oklahoma State University. We remain committed to the Big 12 Conference. If there are additional defections, we will have to evaluate our options.”
If Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M teams follow suit into the ‘Pac-16,’ the new super-conference would be split into two divisions, with the six former Big 12 teams joining Arizona and Arizona State in the East, opposite the former Pac-8 (USC, UCLA, Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State in the Western Division, according to ESPN.
The moves leave Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Baylor behind, left without a formal conference.
The Big Ten has reportedly expressed interest in Missouri, though a member of the MU Board of Curators confirmed Thursday no offer had been made , and speculation has swirled around the destiny of the Kansas universities.
We’re continuing to follow this story and will have more on NBC Action News and here on NBCActionNews.com throughout the day.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Utah excited by Pac-10 acceptance
Associated Press / ESPN; June 22 2010
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s road to the BCS just became a lot less complicated.
As the newest member of the Pac-10, the Utes will be playing for a guaranteed spot in one of college football’s elite bowl games rather than hoping to sneak in with an at-large berth — as they’ve done twice before.
Utah officially joined the Pac-10 on Thursday, leaving the Mountain West Conference for the prestige and more lucrative opportunities of a league where things such as the Heisman Trophy, Final Four and national titles are distinct possibilities instead of long shots.
“Today is an absolutely great day to be a Ute,” athletic director Chris Hill said Thursday before he was interrupted by applause during a news conference.
The Pac-10 invited Utah to join the league on Wednesday and university President Michael Young officially signed on in front of a crowd of elated boosters a day later.
After playing one final season in the Mountain West this fall, Utah will join the Pac-10 — or whatever the expanded league’s name will become — in 2011. There is a guaranteed BCS spot for the Pac-10 winner, but that will mean getting through a schedule of one of college football’s most prominent conferences.
“We don’t have limits right now so we can take a full swing,” Hill said after the news conference. “That’s what’s great about this opportunity for us. We can go for it.”
The announcement was held at Rice-Eccles Stadium, where the Utes have enjoyed two undefeated seasons in the past six years. The Utes received invitations to the Bowl Championship Series in 2004 and 2008, but both were at-large bids.
“I don’t really know if you can compare the two, but there’s a lot of the same feelings and a lot of the same excitement going on right now,” football coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Young noted that the Utes are 7-3 against the Pac-10 in the last 10 meetings, including wins over Arizona in 2004 and Oregon State four years later during the Utes’ two unbeaten runs to the BCS.
The leap takes the Utes from the Mountain West, where national television appearances are rare, to the major markets of the Pac-10. Hill pointed out that representatives from the Rose Bowl were on hand for Thursday’s announcement and they, too, received a boisterous greeting.
Utah played in the Poinsettia Bowl last year in San Diego, not so far geographically from Pasadena but a monumental distance in the world of college football.
“First and foremost, the reason this has happened is because the athletes that we’ve had at the University of Utah have worked so hard and done so much to put this program on the map,” Whittingham said. “That really is where the lion’s share of the credit goes to.”
The Utes were the only unbeaten team in 2008, and they didn’t get a chance to play in the BCS title game. A rout of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl bolstered Utah’s claims of being worthy. The Utes ended up finishing No. 2 in the final AP poll — the school’s highest finish.
Hill said Utah’s departure does not necessarily end the state’s biggest rivalry with BYU. Hill said he hoped to work with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe on keeping the rivalry intact with non-conference games.
The Utes also have strong programs in men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s gymnastics that could immediately compete in the Pac-10. In sports such as baseball and tennis, the Utes will be making a tremendous leap in competition.
“It’s awesome news. It’s an unbelievable feeling in the city and around the university on a lot of levels,” men’s basketball coach Jim Boylen said. “It’s just a bigger stage for our athletes and a bigger platform to recruit from and that’s a big deal.”
The Pac-10 was courting a good chunk of the Big 12 but was turned down when Texas decided to stay put. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M also decided to stay in the Big 12, which will be down one school when Colorado joins the Pac-10 in either 2011 or 2012.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday that there are a number of logistics to work through, including whether the expanded Pac-10 will form divisions in football and play a conference championship game. There is also the matter of the name, which will no-longer be accurate.
Then again, the Big 12 is looking like a 10-team league at the moment and the Big Ten has been playing with 11 teams since Penn State joined the conference in the early 1990s.
“There’s a few conferences out there that have some math problems right now,” Scott said with a chuckle.
Nebraska approved by Big Ten
Associated Press / ESPN; Friday, June 11 2010
LINCOLN, Neb. — So long, Big 12. Nebraska’s membership in the Big Ten Conference is official.
The Big Ten’s board of presidents and chancellors unanimously welcomed Nebraska to the club on Friday, just a few hours after the school formally disclosed its interest. The move takes effect July 1, 2011.
Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman said the Big Ten offers stability “that the Big 12 simply cannot offer.”
TEXAS A&M TO JOIN SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Sept. 25, 2011
The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
The addition of Texas A&M will increase the SEC membership to 13 institutions. It is the first expansion for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.
“The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. “The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
“The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve,” said Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin. “We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference. This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”
Texas A&M , located in College Station, will also be the third institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida and Vanderbilt University. Texas A&M has an enrollment of 50,000 students, ranking as the sixth-largest university in the country, with 360,000 former students worldwide.
Texas A&M also adds to the athletic excellence of the SEC. Last season, the Aggies won three NCAA team titles (men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, women’s basketball) and finished eighth in the prestigious Learfield Sports Director’s Cup all-sport rankings.
“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally.”
The Aggies sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Women’s sports include basketball, equestrian, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball. Texas A&M participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except gymnastics and the SEC sponsors every sport the Aggies participate in except equestrian.
Press Release from SEC
Syracuse officially accepted into ACC
Posted: 09.18.2011 at 10:44 AM
GREENSBORO, NC (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference has extended its northern reach, adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Now the question becomes, will the league stop there — or keep growing to 16?
The ACC announced Sunday that its council of presidents unanimously voted to accept Pittsburgh and Syracuse, a move that increases its membership to 14 and sends the Big East scrambling — again — to replace two of its cornerstone programs.
The announcement caps a turbulent week of reshuffling for the ACC. It likely will lead to another dramatic shift in college athletics and could mark the next step toward the era of 16-team superconferences.
Texas A&M already has announced its intention to join the Southeastern Conference, leaving the future of the Big 12 in doubt. And the board of regents at Oklahoma and Texas are meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of the universities leaving that conference.
Commissioner John Swofford said the expansion “geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts.”
The invitations came after Pittsburgh and Syracuse submitted letters of application to join the league, the ACC said. It is unclear when the move will take effect. The Big East’s exit fee is $5 million, and schools wanting to leave must provide 27 months’ notice.
“We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple,” Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor said in a release. “Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape.”
Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said the school’s leadership “could not envision a better conference home for Pitt.”
Saying the league was excited about adding to its “northern tier,” Florida State President Eric Barron confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday that the ACC had received the application letters from Pitt and Syracuse.
He said 11 of 12 league presidents attended a meeting in Greensboro, N.C., last Tuesday, with the other participating by phone. During the meeting, they unanimously approved raising the exit fee to $20 million — up from $12 million to $14 million — for any member leaving the conference, a maneuver seemingly designed to keep the remaining ACC schools in the fold.
The latest moves are sure to create even more bad blood between two conferences that became embroiled in a nasty lawsuit the last time the ACC expanded by adding schools from the Big East. A multibillion dollar settlement reached in 2005 included the scheduling of nine interconference football games.
Pitt and Syracuse bring the number of programs making the Big East-to-ACC jump in the past decade to five, and Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said the most recent moves were “kind of a shock to everybody.”
Syracuse was one of the original targets of a previous round of expansion by the ACC along with Miami and Boston College in 2003. The ACC ultimately added the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech for the 2004 season and brought in BC for the following season as its 12th member.
Now the question is how the ACC’s latest round of expansion will affect the rest of the college sports landscape.
The future of the Big 12 remains in doubt, with Texas A&M already announcing its intention to join the Southeastern Conference. The board of regents at Oklahoma and Texas are meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of the universities leaving that conference.
There already has been speculation that West Virginia would be a target for the SEC to balance out that conference and grow to 14 members if and when Texas A&M finally joins.
Until now, the focus of this most recent round of realignment had centered on the Big 12. Oklahoma could be leaving for the Pac-12 and taking Oklahoma State with it. Texas has stated its desire to keep the Big 12 together, but the Pac-12 could be an option as well as football independence, a la Notre Dame, which competes in the Big East in all other sports.
There also have been reports linking Texas to the ACC, a move that could include Texas Tech. Other reports indicated two more Big East teams — Connecticut and Rutgers — could be under consideration by the ACC.
While the addition of Syracuse and Pitt brings the ACC to 14 members, 16 might make more sense. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has said his league is set with 12, but could reconsider if other conferences make additions.
When the Big Ten was looking to expand last summer, there was plenty of speculation about Big East schools on the Big Ten’s target list.
But the Big Ten added only Nebraska from the Big 12, and a few months later the Big East announced TCU from the Mountain West Conference was joining the league next year.
Complicating matters for the Big East, different numbers of its schools play football and basketball, and they often have different agendas. The nonfootball members — which include Georgetown, Marquette and Villanova — help make it one of the nation’s strongest basketball conferences. The other football-playing members are West Virginia, Rutgers, Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati.
(Copyright ©2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Pitt Officially Accepted Into ACC
Story URL: http://pittsburgh.scout.com/2/1107901.html
ACC General Release
PantherDigest.com Sep 18, 2011
ACC Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept Pitt and Syracuse as new members
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to accept the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University as new members. The invitation followed the submission of letters of application from both universities.
“The ACC is a strong united conference that is only going to get better with the addition of the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University,” said Duke University President Richard Broadhead, chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. “Both schools are committed to competing at the highest level of academics and athletics. We welcome them as full partners in the ACC.”
“The ACC has enjoyed a rich tradition by balancing academics and athletics and the addition of Pitt and Syracuse further strengthens the ACC culture in this regard,” said Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford. “Pittsburgh and Syracuse also serve to enhance the ACC’s reach into the states of New York and Pennsylvania and geographically bridges our footprint between Maryland and Massachusetts. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, the ACC will cover virtually the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”
“This is an exciting day for the University of Pittsburgh. We have a long history of competing and collaborating with the distinguished universities that already are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have enormous respect for both their academic strengths and their athletic accomplishments,” said University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “In looking to our own future, we could not envision a better conference home for Pitt and are grateful to the Council of Presidents for extending an invitation to join the ACC community.”
“We are very excited to be joining the ACC. This is a tremendous opportunity for Syracuse, and with its outstanding academic quality and athletic excellence, the ACC is a perfect fit for us,” said Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University. “The ACC is home to excellent national research universities with very strong academic quality, and is a group that Syracuse will contribute to significantly and benefit from considerably. As a comprehensive, all-sports conference, the ACC provides Syracuse tremendous opportunities for quality competition and growth in all sports, while also renewing some of our historic rivalries. This move will also bolster our continued efforts to look outward, engage, and extend Syracuse’s reach to key areas of the country, including the southeast, as we grow and expand our national connections to alumni, partners and the students of the future. We are pleased that Syracuse adds a New York City dimension to the ACC, a region in which we have built strong identity and affinity, and we look forward to bringing ACC games to the Big Apple. Overall, for Syracuse, this opportunity provides long-term conference stability in what is an uncertain, evolving, and rapidly shifting national landscape.”
“This is a very significant day for all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Pittsburgh,” said Steve Pederson, University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics. “The strength and quality of the ACC is highly regarded by everyone at Pitt. When we set high expectations for our student-athletes in their academic, athletic and personal goals, it is important to provide every opportunity and resource to enable that success. Joining the ACC and the outstanding institutions in this conference will give every Pitt student-athlete the chance to achieve their highest aspirations.”
Daryl Gross, Syracuse University Director of Athletics said, “Today is a day that we will remember for years to come. We are truly excited that academically and athletically we will be a member of the ACC, one of the nation’s premier collegiate athletic conferences. As New York’s College Team, we plan to compete at the highest level across all of our sports and help to enhance this great conference.”
Copyright © 2011 Scout.com and PantherDigest.com
Notre Dame, Texas joining the Big 10?
Telegraph-Forum; Sept 13 2011
Generally, Internet message board fodder equates to conversations at a beauty parlor or barbershop.
It’s fun, usually harmless, and an entertaining way to pass the day.
But once in a while a piece of information blows across the landscape to take on a life of its own. Thursday was just such a day.
A poster at Northwestern’s Rivals site, who goes by the handle of Purple Book Cat, has carved out a reputation as someone with a source inside the Big Ten Conference. PBC was ahead of the national media on Nebraska joining the Big Ten, and correctly predicted the league was courting Texas more than a year ago, which was later proven to be true via president-to-president emails from Gordon Gee to Bill Powers.
In the Internet community, when Purple Book Cat talks, folks listen. On Thursday, the anonymous PBC started a thread revealing at a Wednesday night meeting, Notre Dame and Texas jointly presented the Big Ten Conference a proposal for terms of entry into the league. Such terms came after lengthy discussions involving both schools over the past several months.
Interestingly, the top priority for both institutions was to get the Big Ten to back off its mandate of a 9-game conference schedule beginning later this decade and maintain the current 8-game slate. This would allow Texas and Notre Dame to continue traditional rivalries, with Oklahoma and USC, respectively.
According to PBC, the status quo would be maintained until 2014, at which point the Longhorn Network would become a part of an expanded Big Ten Network when both schools would join the league.
The thread went viral online.
Most pundits, particularly ESPN’s talking heads, have insisted Texas will eventually join what was once the Pac-10, with USC, UCLA, etc. With Texas A&M headed to the SEC, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State looking west, the assumption was the Longhorns would, too.
But when rumor leaked Texas could be looking elsewhere, all bets were off. PBC followed up his post Thursday afternoon by noting the Big Ten had received a call from the Oklahoma’s Board of Regents. The conference told Oklahoma thanks, but the Sooners would not be extended an invitation to join the Big Ten.
If any of this is correct, a big if, it would reshape the landscape of collegiate athletics. Notre Dame would no longer be independent, and the Big Ten would immediately become the leading athletic and academic conference in the nation.
While PBC’s forecast is just that, a forecast, his track record gives this thought some teeth. This story could take on legs in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Clearly, lots of delicate dancing would have to take place in negotiations for it to come to fruition, but commissioner Jim Delany has never shied away from monumental moves. This would be the grandaddy of them all.
Should this all take place in 2014, the conference could settle on 14 teams, or try to cast a net to reach 16. Most likely candidates would be Maryland and Missouri to capture the Washington, D.C., St. Louis and Kansas City markets. Notre Dame’s appeal already grabs the New York City market without bringing in a weak sister such as Rutgers, as was previously floated.
The conference would then shape up geographically with crossover matchups to be determined.
In the Great Lakes Division, look for Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland, Indiana and Purdue.
In the Great Plains Division, look for Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern and Illinois.
What are the chances this takes place?
Probably less than 50 percent. Texas would prefer the Big XII conference remain a viable home. However, as the days develop that seems less likely. The Longhorns seem to be looking for the next best alternative, and that may just be in the Big Ten.
Notre Dame has long insisted on independence, particularly its alumni. However, they want no part of a BCS system that shuts them out of a championship opportunity. Again, the Big Ten seems the best alternative.
Which brings us all back to PBC’s original thread. Maybe it’s just Internet talk, but the scenario is possible, and if nothing else, it’s fun.
UConn and Rutgers Keep Options Open Amid Big East Upheaval
By MARK VIERA
Sept 19 2011; NYT
The Atlantic Coast Conference’s formal introduction of Syracuse and Pittsburgh as its newest members on Sunday morning left officials from Connecticut and Rutgers not-so-quietly exploring their options of finding a landing spot outside the Big East.
What was perhaps most telling was that representatives from UConn and Rutgers did not offer particularly strong endorsements of the Big East, or its chances for survival, in their public comments.
A person with knowledge of UConn’s position said the university president had been active in the process of a potential conference change, with the A.C.C. being a possible target.
Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti acknowledged trying to make contingency plans for the university, but he declined to name the conferences that he contacted.
John Swofford, the commissioner of the A.C.C., said Sunday that the league, which will have 14 teams with the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, was “not philosophically opposed” to expanding to 16 teams. He said that 10 universities had inquired about membership.
In a statement earlier Sunday, the president of UConn, Susan Herbst, lent some credence to the speculation that the university was looking for a new conference. She hailed the university for being a charter member of the Big East but added that it would be proactive in discussions with other leagues.
That made the revelation that UConn was pursuing membership to the A.C.C., which was first reported by ESPN.com, perhaps less surprising.
It was her role, Herbst said in the statement, to “stay in constant communication and be actively involved in discussions with our counterparts from around the country to ensure the successful long-term future of our university’s athletic program.”
UConn finds itself in a particularly tricky situation, despite its recent athletic success, which includes winning the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament basketball title in April. The university has essentially been functioning without an athletic director for almost a month. Herbst, the former executive vice chancellor for the University System of Georgia, formally took over in June. Paul Pendergast takes over as the interim athletic director Monday, succeeding Jeff Hathaway, who resigned Aug. 19.
Pernetti said that Rutgers was “engaged with several parties,” and that the conversations had occurred before this weekend’s upheaval. Pernetti would not say whether Rutgers would be better off leaving the Big East.
“I don’t know that I could say one way or another,” Pernetti said during a conference call Sunday. “We continue to be well positioned as the landscape continues to shift. You could evaluate that from your perspective however you want to evaluate that.”
In particularly candid comments, Pernetti asserted that unanimity on many fronts was the most important attribute for a conference, and that it was “the one thing that continues to challenge the Big East.”
Pernetti may have been referring to a television contract the Big East recently declined. Officials from Pitt led an effort to reject what would have been a lucrative deal, with Pernetti, a former television executive, also part of that group. The deal was similar to the $155 million yearly package that the A.C.C. signed last year. In retrospect, it appears to have been a mistake for the Big East, which has a number of members that lack a major football program.
The Big East’s remaining members, including St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Georgetown, appear to be in limbo while awaiting the conference carousel to stop spinning.
Big East presidents OK expansion
Updated: October 2, 2011, 7:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON — The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members and TCU have authorized commissioner John Marinatto to “aggressively pursue discussions” with certain schools interested in joining the league.
The league released a statement after Sunday’s meeting at Georgetown University in Washington. The meeting had been scheduled before Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced last month they will leave the conference to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
A source with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz that the Big East did not issue any invitations Sunday. The source said a number of schools were discussed, including Navy, Army, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida and a new name in SMU, which would be a natural rival with TCU if the Horned Frogs honor the commitment to join the conference in 2012-13. All of these schools except Army and Navy would join the Big East for all sports.
The timing of Pitt and Syracuse’s departure was also on the agenda, a souce said. Pitt and Syracuse would like to get out for the 2012-13 season. But Marinatto has said he wants to hold the schools to the 27-month departure requirement.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said at the time of adding Pitt and Syracuse that he would honor that time frame. The exit fee is $5 million, but that could always be negotiated up, according to sources, to expedite the departure.
Connecticut still would rather be in the ACC than stay in the Big East if given the choice, a source said. But the Huskies’ administration expect that the ACC is in no rush to expand beyond 14 after adding Pitt and Syracuse. The Huskies are prepared for this to drag on for quite some time.
Swofford has said he is comfortable at 14, but not philosophically against 16. The ACC would likely want to add Notre Dame and then Connecticut as a 16th school if it were to add two more schools. But Notre Dame continues to maintain its desire to be an independent in football and keep all its other sports in the Big East.
The original purpose of the meeting was to discuss the conference’s upcoming television rights negotiations, but the defections forced expansion onto the agenda.
The Big East says the presidents also are “actively considering changes to the conference’s governing bylaws to further solidify the membership of the conference.”
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.
October 3, 2011, 7:29 PM ET
Big 12 board votes to share TV revenue
The remaining Big 12 schools have taken a major step toward staying together by agreeing to equally distribute Tier I and II television revenues, a deal that will be complete with all nine institutions’ individual OKs.
The conference, after going through a second straight year of dealing with at least one defection from its membership, announced that its board of directors had adopted the plan Monday after discussing it over the weekend.
The football and men’s basketball revenue from Tier I and Tier II contracts will take effect once each of the nine schools commit to a grant of rights for at least six years.
Tier I includes nationally televised games on a broadcast network such as ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. All cable football, ESPN basketball and Big 12 network games produced by ESPN Regional fall under Tier II.
The previous distribution was based on television appearances, and thus a larger percentage for the teams being televised.
If all nine schools sign off on the agreement, it would end speculation that Missouri would bolt to the SEC.
Missouri president Brady Deaton is the head of the board of directors. The Missouri board of curators is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss this as well as any other matters related to conference affiliation.
The Big 12 lost Nebraska to the Big Ten and Colorado to the Pac-12 a year ago and then officially last month saw Texas A&M bolt to the SEC, effective for the 2012-13 season.
That left Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri as the nine remaining members. The Big 12 board of directors ousted commissioner Dan Beebe over the instability in the conference. The board hired former Big Eight commissioner Chuck Neinas as an interim replacement, but Neinas said upon accepting the job that he didn’t want the full-time gig.
The agreement would force all the schools to share revenue from the television deals, putting no school above another.
But the deal doesn’t forbid schools from keeping their own network rights (Tier III), which would mean Texas can keep any revenue earned from the Longhorn Network, which is co-owned and operated by ESPN. All of the remaining schools have some sort of local deal, whether it’s a network or a web outlet or a locally syndicated package.
The Tier I and II rights are for the league’s television deals with ESPN/ABC and Fox. The Big 12 signed a reportedly $1 billion, 13-year deal with Fox last April, although the change in membership could alter that deal.
Once the remaining nine schools sign off on the grant in rights then the league will begin pursuing expansion. An expansion committee is scheduled to discuss possible teams. The Big 12 originally had a list of Arkansas, BYU, Pitt, Louisville and West Virginia when Texas A&M left before Oklahoma president David Boren said the Sooners would look at other options. The Sooners’ main option was snuffed out when the Pac-12 decided it would not expand.
Arkansas has said it would remain in the SEC. Pitt is now off to the ACC in 2012 or ’13. For the Big 12 expansion pool, that leaves BYU, an independent in football with all other sports in the WAC; Big East teams Louisville, West Virginia and possibly Cincinnati and South Florida; Boise State and Air Force out of the Mountain West; and TCU, now in the MWC but bound for the Big East in 2012.
The question that remains for the Big 12 though, is how many teams to add. That hasn’t been answered yet, according to sources. The ideal number is believed to be 10, assuming Missouri stays, with the possibility of going to 12. The TCU question will be an interesting one for Texas since adding TCU would open up the politics for Conference USA members in Texas such as SMU to push for inclusion.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.
Report: Missouri hopes to join SEC
Updated: October 5, 2011, 8:04 PM ET
ST. LOUIS — The University of Missouri hopes to join the Southeastern Conference but would have preferred an offer from the Big Ten that never came, a school official told The Associated Press.
The person, who is familiar with the discussions involving conference affiliation, spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the school has not commented publicly about its intentions.
Missouri hoped to join the Big Ten last year but the league instead chose Nebraska. The university official said the Big Ten remains Missouri’s top choice but that conference “has no interest.”
“That’s what’s left,” the official said, referring to the SEC.
Missouri’s seven voting curators agreed unanimously Tuesday night to give chancellor Brady Deaton authority to look elsewhere rather than immediately commit to the troubled Big 12 Conference.
Just one day earlier, Big 12 leaders — including Deaton — agreed to equally share the wealth from the conference’s most lucrative television deals if members agree to lock those top-tier TV rights into the league for at least six years.
The agreement is subject to approval by university governing boards — a step Missouri curators don’t want to take until the school is able to “fully explore options for conference affiliation … which best serve the interests of the University of Missouri,” board chairman Warren Erdman told The Associated Press.
The Big 12 is down to 10 members and will lose Texas A&M to the SEC next year after the departures of Colorado to the Pac-12 and Nebraska to the Big Ten.
A source with direct knowledge of the Big 12’s expansion plans told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz that Missouri’s indecision has put the expansion committee and the conference in a tough position as it waits to see how many teams it will seek to add to the conference.
The source said the five-person expansion committee expects to have a second conference call sometime within a week. The committee still doesn’t know if Deaton will recuse himself since he’s one of the five members of the committee with Kansas State president Kirk Schulz, the chair, as well as Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione and Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
The source said that the top choices remain BYU, Louisville, West Virginia and TCU, but a new school was discussed recently that hasn’t been mentioned publicly: Tulane out of Conference USA. The source said the Big 12 has been contacted by a number of other schools about possible inclusion, as well.
The source said that Tulane would become a viable option for the Big 12 if it were to grab four schools to beef up the membership to 12, in a situation where BYU decides it doesn’t want to leave its football independence or its new tie to the WCC in all other sports. Tulane is interesting to the Big 12 because of its location in New Orleans and in a state, Louisiana, where the Big 12 is absent, as well as the school’s renewed commitment to sports and facilities after Hurricane Katrina.
A source with knowledge of Tulane’s situation told ESPN.com that the Green Wave have privately been making overtures to the Big East and Big 12 about possible membership but didn’t want to upset Conference USA as that league looks to form a partnership with the Mountain West.
Tulane is also a member of the Association of American Universities — the only AAU member listed as a possible addition. The prestigious AAU tag is something that the SEC has looked at as an important criterion for expansion as evidenced by the league promoting Texas A&M as one of three AAU members in the SEC in a news release announcing the Aggies’ addition. Florida and Vanderbilt are the other two in the SEC.
The Big 12 would be down to four AAU schools after the departure of Texas A&M, and down to three — Texas, Kansas, and Iowa State — if Missouri leaves.
The source cited the improved academics at TCU and Louisville as important aspects to possible inclusion in the Big 12.
University of Oklahoma president David Boren told ESPN.com Wednesday he believes it’s “50-50” Missouri leaves the Big 12 for the SEC.
“We’ll be fine either way,” said Boren, reaffirming Oklahoma’s position of committing to the Big 12.
Asked about a timetable for adding new members to the Big 12, Boren said it could happen in a “week to 10 days.”
“There are three or four good choices out there,” he said.
The SEC members’ athletic directors and commissioner Mike Slive met Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala., to discuss the logistics of Texas A&M’s arrival. A conference spokesman said the meeting was called several weeks ago.
A possible addition of Missouri was not on the agenda, a source with direct knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.com’s Katz.
Slive has not ruled out further expansion to the SEC, and Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has said the SEC will eventually add members.
Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said Tuesday the conference is in a wait-and-see mode on further expansion.
“The commissioner has done such a great job of positioning us and we continue just to kind of look for his guidance and for him to lead us in whatever direction we decide on,” Stricklin said. “When he says, ‘Hey, here’s an idea,’ we’re going to listen to him. Until then, I think we are all very comfortable with where we are at 13 for the time being.”
But South Carolina president Harris Pastides has said he doesn’t “think 13 is a sustainable number, but I think 14 is.” He added that he doesn’t advocate growing to a 16-team league.
Sticking with the Big 12 remains an option, Deaton said Tuesday, and the costs of leaving could prove troublesome with Missouri likely forfeiting most of its annual conference revenues.
The revenue-sharing plan approved Sunday by the Big 12 board of directors — a move designed to keep Missouri and other potential stray members in the fold — would give each school an estimated $20 million in June.
And that figure is expected to grow by 2013 when the league’s new 13-year contract with Fox Sports kicks in, according to two people with knowledge of the deal and ties to the Big 12. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the revenue-sharing plan.
The Big 12’s television contract with ABC/ESPN expires in 2016 and also likely will bring in additional money when renegotiated.
The SEC, by contrast, distributed $18.3 million in revenue to each of its 12 members this year. But that league can also expect more lucrative contracts when the next round of TV rights’ negotiations occur.
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican whose Columbia district includes the Missouri campus, said his constituents are “hands down” in favor of an SEC move. Now that Missouri has made its desire to roam known, he has doubts that a union with the Big 12 can be salvaged.
“It’s kind of like a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship,” said Schaefer, a Missouri graduate. “Once it’s fractured and somebody gets a wandering eye, can you repair that? It’s not clear.”
While Missouri is a charter member of the Big 12, founded in 1996 when the Big Eight schools added four members of the defunct Southwest Conference, dissatisfaction with the conference has grown. In the early ’90s, with the Big Eight on the verge of collapse, Missouri pushed to join the Big Ten and a group of state business leaders even formed a lobbying group.
A year ago, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, an avid sports fan, was an outspoken supporter of a move to the Big Ten, noting that its schools, like Missouri, are members of the invitation-only AAU. The Big Ten instead chose another AAU school in Nebraska.
Besides being a fresh blow to the Big 12, a Missouri departure would threaten its long-standing rivalry with neighboring Kansas, one of the oldest in college sports. Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told the Lawrence Journal-World that the border showdowns may not continue if Missouri bolts.
“I have no ill will toward Missouri at all, but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can’t see us just taking it and forgetting,” he told the newspaper.
Kansas athletic director Shannon Zenger was less forceful, appealing instead to the Tigers’ sense of loyalty to the league.
“We believe the Midwest deserves a strong conference for student-athletes, fans and alumni, and it is our desire that Missouri will stay committed — as Kansas is — to the Big 12 Conference,” he said.
Erdman, a Kansas City attorney, said the school takes long-term relationships and regional affiliations seriously. But the financial allure of seven-figure TV contracts and the broader benefits of such deals to a university are equally if not more important, he said.
“The cultural and economic effects of a decision like this on all parts of the state are important,” he said. “And we should be sensitive to those factors as part of our overall consideration. However, when it’s all said and done, our fiduciary duty is to the University of Missouri.”
Missouri alumni, donors and fans haven’t been shy about sharing their opinions with university leaders, barraging curators with emails encouraging a Big 12 exit.
“It’s been pretty overwhelmingly positive to leave the Big 12,” said Todd McCubbin, executive director of the Missouri Alumni Association. “And the SEC has been a popular choice.”
Information from ESPN.com’s Andy Katz, SoonerNation’s Jake Trotter, and The Associated Press was used in this report.
ESPN.com news services
By the year 2020, most of the conferences have been realigned into 6 Premier Conferences. These six conferences are ACC, B1G, B1G II, PAC, SEC and USA. Each of the conference will have 20 teams with 2 or 4 Divisions depending on their locality, setup and/or networks. Ivy League and Chicago institutions are having an opportunity to return to the any of the leagues
As such we will view closely on what schools will occupy these Premier Conferences:
BC, Cinci, Conn, Cornell, Duke, NC, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, VA Tech
Brown, Clemson, FSU, GA Tech, Miami, NC State, Penn, Temple, USF, Wake Forest
Harvard, MD, MI, MSU, ND, OSU, Princeton, PSU, VA, Yale
Chicago, IA, IL, IN, MN, NE, Northwestern, Purdue, TX, WI
B1G II (Merger between Big 12 & BIG EAST)
ARMY, Columbia, Dartmouth, Houston, Navy, Rice, SMU, TCU, Tulane, UCF
Air Force, Baylor, BYU, IA State, KS, KS State, OK, OK State, TX Tech, UTEP
Boise State, CA, Fresno St, OR, OR State, SDSU, Stanford, UT, WA, WA State
AZ, AZ State, CO, HI, NM, NM State, SDSU, UCLA, UNLV, USC
AL, Auburn, GA, FL, SC, TN, UAB, UCF, Vanderbilt, WVA
AR, KY, Louisville, LSU, Memphis, Ole MS, MS State, TAMU, Tulsa
USA (Merger between Conference USA, MAC, Sun Belt and WAC)
Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, FAU, Kent St, Miami (OH), OH, East Carolina, Marshall, Troy
Ball State, Central MI, CO State, Eastern MI, North TX, Northern ILL, Toledo, Western MI, Southern MS, WY
TCU To Join Big 12 July 1, 2012
Joe Schad with the latest on TCU and the Big 12
FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Monday night, seizing an opportunity to be a part of a conference with natural geographic rivals despite the league’s recent instability.
The board of trustees unanimously approved the move and Chancellor Victor Boschini Jr. made the expected announcement in front a packed room of more than 200 people. Athletic director Chris Del Conte fought back tears as he recalled receiving the phone call from the Horned Frogs’ new conference last week.
“This is living proof that dreams do come true,” he said.
The move could provide some much-needed stability for the Big 12, which lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) over the summer and will lose Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference next year. Missouri is also exploring a move to the SEC.
TCU has a strong football background that includes celebrated athletes from the 1930s — including Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brien and All-American Sammy Baugh, who both played in the NFL. More recent alums include New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson and Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton.
The Horned Frogs went 13-0 last season and won the Rose Bowl. They also went undefeated in the 2009 regular season, then lost to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
“It was a challenge winning the Rose Bowl … and there’s been a lot of people that told us we couldn’t do a lot of different things, and so we’re going to take it one step at a time,” football coach Gary Patterson said after the announcement. “It’s not going to be easy … but I do believe that if the Big 12 did not feel like we couldn’t be competitive in the league, then they wouldn’t have asked us.”
Patterson said the financial benefit of being in the Big 12 and resuming those rivalries also will help Fort Worth.
“Are you going to win 10 to 12 games every year? Probably not,” Patterson said. “But the key is … to have a chance to challenge for the conference title, always try to get back to bowl games, and that’s going to be our goal is to do it like we’ve always done it: one game at a time.”
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told the crowd that TCU has an outstanding academic record as well as athletics.
“Chancellor, TCU has traveled a long path, been to different places. Sir, I’d like to welcome you home,” Neinas said.
TCU currently competes in the Mountain West Conference and was set to join the Big East next July. Instead, the Big 12 went public with its interest in TCU last week and set the stage for the private university to stay closer to home. It officially joins the Big 12 on July 1.
Del Conte said TCU will not be required to give the 27 months’ notice to leave the Big East but must pay the exit fee. He declined to confirm it was the $5 million required by the Big East policy.
Several Big 12 coaches welcomed the idea of having TCU in the league.
“They’re an excellent program,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “You see what they’ve been doing throughout the year. I love the proximity for the fans. It’s another game that’s relatively close and in this region, so I think it’s great.”
Also Monday, Big East school leaders authorized the conference to add enough members to have 12 teams for football. With Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East would be down to six football schools without TCU: West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut.
“Although never having competed as a member of the Big East Conference, we are disappointed with the news that TCU is joining the Big 12,” Big East commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement. “As noted earlier today, our presidents met via teleconference this morning to focus on the future and have authorized us to engage in formal expansion discussions with additional institutions. We anticipate taking action in the near future.”
SEC leaders also met Monday for their regularly scheduled fall session but took no action on expansion. The league will have 13 members once Texas A&M joins in July, leading to speculation about whether Missouri or other schools will be added to balance things out.
As for the Big 12, adding TCU would give it 10 members going into next season without further changes.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said he has “always been in favor of a Big 12 Conference with 12 teams, and two divisions and a championship.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
MWC, C-USA set football alliance
Friday, October 14, 2011
By Andrea Adelson
The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have agreed to form a merged 22-team football league, hoping the move will help solidify both conferences and improve their chances at obtaining a Bowl Championship Series automatic qualifying bid.
The league will have a two-division alignment and will play a championship game, Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said during a conference call announcing the move on Friday.
The two leagues would maintain their independent structures in all other sports under the arrangement, which could begin as early as 2012.
The timing of the announcement comes amid reports that the Big East is close to extending invitations to Mountain West members Boise State and Air Force and C-USA members Central Florida, Houston and SMU along with football independent Navy.
I’m just trying to create greater stability for our membership so we’re not talking about membership issues. The status quo of a 10-team football league with Hawaii as a football-only member was not acceptable, and we’re looking for a new dynamic.
” — Mountain West Conference
commissioner Craig Thompson
Banowsky and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said Boise State, Air Force and UCF voted on the alliance, and that all three schools endorsed the move.
Boise State, Air Force and Cental Florida have informed their respective commissioners about discussions with the Big East. Banowsky said SMU and Houston have not informed him of any discussions with the Big East.
“(Banowsky) has good communication with our schools,” said a C-USA spokesperson. “If SMU or Houston were in serious discussions with another conference, we would have been advised of it by them or the other conference, and that hasn’t happened.”
Banowsky said the conference is prepared for the potential loss of members.
“I hope UCF will be with us for a long time, but as I’ve said, if a school feels they’re in a better situation somewhere else, that’s OK,” Banowsky said. “It’s not something anyone takes personally. We find a way to handle it in a professional way. We pat them on the back and wish them well.”
Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades said the school had no comment on the reports.
“We are aware of the growing speculation regarding conference realignment and do not feel it would be appropriate to comment on the possible intentions of another league,” Rhoades said. “We are flattered to be mentioned as an athletics program of national importance and we are grateful for our strong traditions and the dedication of our fans, alumni, staff and student-athletes.”
Will the new alliance be enough to keep Boise State and Air Force from leaving for the Big East?
“I don’t want to label it in those terms,” Thompson said. “It’s a viable option and it creates stability, and that’s what they’re looking for.
Thompson said he spoke three times on Thursday and Friday with Air Force Academy Superintendent Gen. Mike Gould.
“I can’t answer what Air Force will do. We are going to put an attractive option on the table for the United States Air Force Academy,” Thompson said.
The idea of stabilizing the two conferences was a key point of emphasis during Friday’s announcement.
With the rapidly-changing landscape in college football and the possibility each league could lose members, an alliance would give the two leagues stability they would not have standing alone. There even has been talk of adding two new members, for 24 teams.
“I don’t want to put our members in a position that today we’re at 10, next year we might be at nine, two years from now at eight and continually having to add additional member institutions because it’s not as easy as exchanging one for one,” Thompson said.
“I’m just trying to create greater stability for our membership so we’re not talking about membership issues. The status quo of a 10-team football league with Hawaii as a football-only member was not acceptable, and we’re looking for a new dynamic.”
The two commissioners began discussing a merger in August of 2010 after the first wave of conference realignments, but those discussions were tabled a short time later. They were revisited again a few months ago after the second wave of realignments hit.
While both commissioners talked about how attractive a 22-member league spanning 16 states and five time zones will be to their television partners, neither could answer one of the biggest questions of all: Will this alliance get them that coveted automatic bid into the BCS?
“Who knows what’s going to happen,” Banowsky said. “Some people think you should play in the (BCS Championship) game if you deserve it. Our conferences together will stand up as one conference, we will speak with a strong voice and we will expect our champion to be recognized.”
But what if Boise State, one of two schools in the proposed alliance that has played in a BCS game, leaves and costs the new formation it’s strongest asset in its argument for BCS inclusion?
“Certainly everyone’s (BCS) numbers are going to be juxtaposed and repositioned,” Thompson said. “Everyone in the last year and a half has added or lost members. … I don’t know who’s going to be in what league. Right now, today Friday afternoon, the intention is we start with 22.”
Moving forward, the two conferences will sit down to work out scheduling arrangements and a divisional structure without losing any traditional rivalries. Banowsky said there is the hope of getting a championship game established for 2012, but ideally that would begin in 2013.
He also added, “The long-term goal is to figure out a way to have divisional champions and a tiered playoff format.”
The football-only association would not affect the MWC and C-USA’s status within the NCAA structure. But the leagues also will work on scheduling agreements for their other sports, including men’s basketball.
No doubt this alliance is a unique partnership in college football, one Thompson hopes will last well into the future.
“I’m just trying to find a comfort zone where everybody, ‘Says I’m really happy to be a part of this association,'” Thompson said.
Andrea Adelson is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com’s Andy Katz was used in this report.
Report: Mizzou moves closer to SEC bid
The New York Times is reporting Missouri’s decision to officially apply for membership in the Southeastern Conference is “inevitable and imminent.”
The newspaper, citing an official familiar with school decisions involving conference affiliation, reported Monday night that Mizzou officials expect to get enough votes among SEC presidents to become a member, although the school would still need to be formally invited to join the conference.
Missouri curators, who must approve any change in conference alignment, are scheduled to next meet at the University of Missouri, Kansas City on Oct. 20-21.
While interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said last week he expects Mizzou to stay in the league and SEC commissioner Mike Slive has said the conference has no immediate expansion plans, The Times reported the Tigers could join the SEC as early as next year.
SEC presidents voted to accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member in September and several SEC athletic directors have suggested that adding a 14th team to balance league schedules is inevitable.
Mizzou curators agreed unanimously earlier this month to give Chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to look elsewhere rather than immediately commit to the Big 12. A 45-page document presented to curators suggests the school would hope to get as much as $12 million more each year in additional revenue with a move to the SEC if TV deals are renegotiated.
The document, which was obtained by The Associated Press, states Missouri would not suffer a dramatic loss in academic prestige with an SEC move. The SEC has three other members of the prestigious Association of American Universities: Florida, soon-to-arrive Texas A&M and Vanderbilt, the same number as the Big 12 now has, excluding Missouri.
TCU accepted an invitation last week to join the Big 12. The Horned Frogs will replace the Aggies, keeping the league at 10 members when the Aggies leave for the SEC next July.
While TCU will be the first new member since the Big 12 started play in 1996, Texas A&M will be the third school to leave. Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) left this year.
A source with direct knowledge of the Big 12’s expansion panel’s plans told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz that if Missouri departs, the Big 12 still must decide if it wants to go to 10 or 12 members. The source said Louisville and West Virginia are two of the top candidates to replace Missouri if it leaves.
While Missouri is a charter member of the Big 12, founded in 1996 when the Big Eight schools added four members of the defunct Southwest Conference, dissatisfaction with the conference has grown. In the early ’90s, with the Big Eight on the verge of collapse, Missouri pushed to join the Big Ten and a group of state business leaders even formed a lobbying group.
Asked at a news conference last week about the potential costs of a league departure — hours before curators discussed the financial document — Deaton demurred.
“We’re really just beginning the exploration of our options, and those figures will become very clear during that process,” he said. “At this time we’ve made no decision (to leave). That’s a bit of a hypothetical.”
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz was used in this report.
Big 12 adding WVU, will stay 10 strong
The Big 12 welcomed West Virginia from the Big East and bid goodbye to Missouri before the Tigers even had a chance to finalize their move to the Southeastern Conference.
Now that the poaching of the Big East seems to be over, the beleaguered league is not backing down. It has been busy courting six schools and says it was braced for the latest loss. And despite what the Big 12 says, the Big East plans to keep West Virginia for two more years — just as it has vowed to keep Pittsburgh and Syracuse away from the Atlantic Coast Conference until 2014.
The latest round of conference realignment appears to be winding down, but tug-o-war over who goes where when likely will take a while to sort out.
Hey SportsNation, is West Virginia a better football addition to the Big 12 than TCU? Can the Big East survive without West Virginia? What will Boise State do? Vote!
The Big 12 completed its work Friday by adding West Virginia to become its easternmost member, joining Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, TCU and Iowa State.
The Big 12 said it expects to have 10 schools for the 2012-13 season, listing West Virginia but not Missouri, which is expected to complete its move to the SEC any day now.
“I wouldn’t say that there won’t be further expansion,” interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said on a conference call Friday evening. “But our mission was … to move forward with 10 teams at this point. That doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be further consideration. But right now, we’ve got our house in order. We’ve got everybody signed up. We’re looking forward to a very aggressive conference.”
Ames, Iowa, is the closest Big 12 campus to Morgantown, W.Va., at 870 miles away, but that hardly matters. The Mountaineers bring a football program that has consistently been ranked in the Top 25 in recent years, and that’s what counts most when it comes time to sell TV rights.
In April, the conference signed a 13-year TV deal with Fox worth $1.17 billion that kicks in next year and was based upon the league having 10 members.
The Big 12 leaders voted to add West Virginia, rather than closer Big East rival Louisville, on Friday morning.
“The addition of West Virginia, while expanding the reach of the Big 12, brings an impressive institution with esteemed academics and a proud athletic tradition into the Conference. This is another step in building a strong foundation for the future of the Big 12,” said Oklahoma State University president Burns Hargis, the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors.
West Virginia is one of the founding members of the Big East’s football conference, created in 1991. Of the eight original members, only Rutgers remains.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for WVU athletics, our fans and the state of West Virginia,” football coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Having coached in the Big 12 before, I appreciate the excitement, passion and expectations associated with the conference, and I have no doubt that WVU athletics will be a great addition to the Big 12.”
The Big East is trying to reconfigure itself as a 12-team football league and has been pitching itself to six schools, including Boise State. Now it will need seven to get to 12, though maybe not for a couple years.
While the Big 12’s statement said West Virginia will begin competing in the 2012-13 athletic season, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said the Mountaineers will be staying in the Big East for two more seasons.
“West Virginia is fully aware that the Big East Conference is committed to enforcing the 27-month notification period for members who choose to leave the conference,” he said in a statement.
West Virginia president James Clements said the university’s focus is on next summer’s conference transition, although there will be discussions with the Big East.
“Our intent is clearly July 1 we’ll be a member of the Big 12,” Clements said.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced last month they would join the ACC, and Marinatto has been adamant about saying the Big East plans to hold them for two more seasons.
ACC commissioner John Swofford told Katz that the ACC was ready to take Pitt and Syracuse as soon as the two could join the conference.
Source: Big East Departure Rule ‘Airtight’
The Big East was surprised that West Virginia and the Big 12 announced their intentions to join the conference next season, according to a Big East source.
The conference realizes that dropping to seven teams for next season would be highly problematic and that the 27-month departure is an “airtight rule” and that violating it would be at the “legal risk” of the school and Big 12, according to a source.
The Big East plans to announce Central Florida, Houston and SMU as future members of the conference, likely in 2013, as early as Tuesday, the source said. Navy and Air Force are being more deliberate and methodical in the process, but the conference is hopeful both soon will follow, along with Boise State.
The conference has statistics it believes shows those six teams in addition to Louisville, Rutgers, UConn, South Florida and Cincinnati would qualify the conference as a continued automatic qualifier for the BCS. As a 12th member, the schools under discussion include BYU, Army, Temple, East Carolina and Memphis. BYU would be part of a logical Western Division of the Big East.
The Big East believes it would qualify for the BCS because of the depth of the football success of proposed teams in terms of Top 25 appearances and an overall lack of traditional bottom-feeding schools.
While some may suggest an independent school like Navy or Air Force could be available as early as next season, a conference official warned that those schools are committed to large schedules for next season that would create complications as challenging as adding a school from a conference that has exit fee and timeline complications.
— Joe Schad, ESPN college football reporter
TCU was on its way to the Big East, set to join in 2012, before being diverted to the Big 12 earlier this month to take the place of Texas A&M, which was first to make the jump from the Big 12 to the SEC.
The Big East can’t hold the Horned Frogs because they never started competing, but it does expect to receive a $5 million exit fee from them, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia.
Big East presidents two weeks ago agreed to raise the league’s exit fee to $10 million, but not until it had received commitments from one of its two main expansion targets — Air Force or Navy.
West Virginia will not be on the hook for the doubled exit fee but clearly it will cost something for the Mountaineers to start playing in the Big 12 next season. Same goes for Pitt and Syracuse and the ACC.
Clements said West Virginia wired half of the $5 million exit fee to the Big East on Friday. The other half will be sent when the school actually leaves.
It appeared earlier in the week that the Big 12 had settled on West Virginia as its replacement for Missouri. But Louisville briefly re-entered the picture, and the Mountaineers’ invitation to the Big 12 was put on hold.
“We felt very confident and comfortable with our position where we were,” West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said. “I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t say that we had a little bit of nervousness. We’re just glad it’s been finalized.”
In the end the extra time didn’t pay off for the Cardinals.
“I’m not certain how everything went down, but they fought a good battle and won,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said.
The Big 12, even before landing that big TV deal, distributed more revenue ($137 million) last year to its members than the Big East ($113), which will begin negotiating new TV deals next year.
“The Big 12 is a perfect fit for West Virginia,” Clements said.
“It’s a great day to be a Mountaineer,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told The Associated Press.
The decision by the Big 12 caps a strange week of conference realignment that included West Virginia officials on Tuesday preparing a press release and planning a news conference to announce its conference switch, then being told later that day to put the brakes on those plans.
Louisville made a late push for inclusion that reportedly involved a phone call from Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville alum, to Big 12 officials.
“He lobbied for us, of course he did, as did many other people,” Jurich said.
That set off Manchin, who threatened Wednesday a Senate investigation if it were found that another lawmaker had stood in the way of the Mountaineers’ move.
Then late Thursday night, the SEC inadvertently posted on its website that Missouri was joining the league.
The conference said no agreement has been reached with the school, but it was yet another sign it’s just a matter of time before the Tigers follow Texas A&M.
Now, the focus shifts to the Big East and how it will rebuild. The plan is to add Boise State, Navy and Air Force as football-only members and SMU, Houston and Central Florida as all-sports members.
“This move by West Virginia does not come as a surprise,” Marinatto said. “League officials, members of our conference and the candidate schools to whom we have been talking were aware of this possibility. We have taken West Virginia’s possible departure into account as we have moved forward with our realignment plans.”
Temple had been considered before Big East officials settled on the Texas schools from Conference USA.
Marinatto met on campus with officials from Air Force on Wednesday and Boise State on Thursday. The Big East presidents are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Philadelphia and are expected to authorize him to officially invite new members.
Along with Louisville and Rutgers, the remaining Big East football schools are South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati.
Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino said Friday that Marinatto was disappointed in WVU’s decision.
“I told him to stop taking that attitude,” Pitino told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz. “If Louisville had left the Big East was over. Nobody was going to come in. I told him to be fired up and go get those teams.”
The teams Pitino is referring to are potential Big East invitees Boise State, Air Force, Navy, BYU, Central Florida, Houston and SMU. Pitino said Marinatto has visited with or spoken to officials from each of the schools about joining the conference.
The Big East also has eight members, including Notre Dame, that don’t compete in the league in football. Most are small private schools with strong basketball programs such as St. John’s, Georgetown and DePaul.
DePaul AD Jean Lenti Ponsetto said there are no plans for the basketball schools to split from the football schools.
“I would say at this point we have not gone down that path,” she said.
If the Big East can’t complete its expansion goals and crumbles, it could leave Notre Dame’s much-treasured football independence in doubt and start a whole new round of shuffling.
Information from ESPN.com senior college basketball writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.
The Big East is set to add Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, UCF and Houston as it begins to rebuild its league, with an announcement expected as early as Wednesday, sources confirmed to ESPN.com.
Boise State and San Diego State of the Mountain West will enter the league as football-only members, while Houston, SMU and UCF, all of Conference USA, will join the Big East for all sports, sources told ESPN.com.
The five schools have been long rumored as candidates to join a battered league that has seen the defections of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia in the last few months, leaving it with five football-playing members.
Navy, a football indepedent, has not yet joined as a football-only member, but is expected to do so once some “loose ends” are ironed out, a source told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz.
The Big East is also hoping to add Air Force as a football-only member, sources told ESPN’s Joe Schad. But the entry of Air Force and Navy could be delayed until 2014 or 2015 due to scheduling logistics, the sources said.
“I think what (commissioner) John Marinatto just did, he should get a substantial raise for what he just accomplished,” Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said. “Getting Boise State. Getting Houston, SMU. I think that is as good of a job for a commissioner with his back against the wall as I’ve seen since I’ve been in athletics. The teams you lost aren’t as good in football as the teams you’re bringing in.”
The addition of Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, UCF and Houston would come in time for the 2013 season, not only keeping the Big East a viable FBS conference and raising hopes it can hold onto its all-important automatic qualifying status for the Bowl Championship Series.
Boise State is the key to those hopes, as the Broncos have had great success over the past decade as members of the WAC and Mountain West. They have finished in the top 10 of the BCS standings for four straight seasons, better than any other Big East team currently in the fold.
The big reason for Boise State to join a league nearly 3,000 miles away from its location is the Big East’s automatic qualifier status. Though the Broncos do have top-10 finishes to their credit, they have only been selected for one BCS game, and have been passed over as an at-large selection as an undefeated team (2008) and as a one-loss team (2010, 2011).
San Diego State’s program has been on an upswing, with back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since the 1960s. The Aztecs, who entered into the mix once talks between the Big East and BYU broke down, would serve as a travel partner for the Broncos.
“If something like that happens for any football program in this time in college football, if you’re able to get into a BCS league, it gives your football program an advantage, but it also gives your whole athletic department an advantage,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said Tuesday.
“There’s obviously benefits to everybody in the athletic department, there’s all kinds of benefits to doing something like that. We would be OK with anything that allows us to get into a BCS conference,” Long said.
UCF finished in the top 25 of the BCS standings last season and would be an immediate rival for USF, while also giving the Big East a second market in Florida for recruiting as well as television.
Houston nearly made a BCS game this season and should finish ranked in the Top 25. SMU also has done well with June Jones in charge. Those two schools add big media markets and recruiting areas in Texas, making up for the loss of TCU, which decided to bolt for the Big 12 once the Big East’s future appeared shaky.
The additions also give the league members in all four continental U.S. time zones. But despite that, the Big East is not expected to consider a name change, because of the brand equity it has already established, sources told Schad.
Syracuse and Pitt started the defections in September, announcing they were moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference. TCU then announced it would join the Big 12 instead and West Virginia followed.
The Mountaineers are hoping to join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 season but are currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits with the Big East over those plans. The conference has sued West Virginia, demanding it stay in the league for the 27-month waiting period as required by conference bylaws. And West Virginia has sued the Big East, arguing those laws were invalidated when the league began losing members.
The expansion announcement should come as welcome relief to the football-playing members still on board — Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers and USF. But questions still remain about the league’s long-term football prospects should another round of conference moves take place, as UConn, Louisville and Rutgers have made overtures to other conferences.
Outside of football, the issue for Boise State and San Diego State remains where to put the rest of their sports, mainly men’s basketball. The Aztecs were highly ranked in the men’s Top 25 much of last season and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Multiple sources said that the Big West and the WAC are the most likely suitors for Boise State and San Diego State, instead of the WCC or the Big Sky. The MWC won’t allow schools to join without football.
But there is a strong chance that Boise and SDSU could be in different leagues, with the WAC possibly more viable for Boise State — where in-state rival Idaho plays — and the Big West more likely for the Aztecs.
The Big East, which has thrived for years as one of the nation’s best basketball leagues, has seven schools that do not play football: Providence, St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall and Villanova. Notre Dame is a football independent, but plays all other sports in the Big East.
“The Big East has been the No. 1 conference in all of basketball, obviously, by the amount of bids,” Pitino said. “Now, have you made basketball stronger? No. You’re not replacing Syracuse and Pittsburgh, so my hope is that they’ll go out there and get a Temple or a Memphis to keep basketball strong.”
Andrea Adelson writes about the Big East for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com writers Mark Schlabach and Andy Katz, ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.
Follow Andrea Adelson on Twitter: @ESPN_CollegeFB
Professor group talks football issues
TULSA, Okla. — They threw around ideas people dream about — a 64-team football playoff — and others that might be more realistic: finding a way to let players receive a small stipend in addition to their scholarships.
A group of reform-minded professors who represent their faculties on the Coalition On Intercollegiate Athletics met this weekend to talk about the many changes they’d like to see in college sports and the precious few they might help push through.
This year’s annual meeting came in the midst of some troubling times for college athletics. Over the past year, the NCAA has endured scandals at — to name a few — Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State and, of course, Penn State, where the news of Joe Paterno’s death hit hard Sunday.
It’s been the sad lessons in State College that have resonated deepest with many of these professors. A child sex-abuse scandal and its aftermath have come to define the massive, 157-year-old institution instead of academics setting the agenda.
“It’s been a classic example of the tail wagging the dog,” said Nathan Tublitz, a biology professor at Oregon and one of the more vocal voices in COIA. “It’s where an auxiliary enterprise, which is what athletics is, has gotten too big. It’s like the kids telling the parents what to do.”
In hopes of remedying that, COIA explored several questions during its three-day meeting, the full answers to which will be hashed out over the next several weeks, with those results being passed along to faculty senates, athletic departments, school presidents and the NCAA.
Among the topics: Should COIA advocate changes in the BCS?
Not surprisingly, the dividing lines on many issues among the 50 or so faculty members were often split between those who represent schools from automatic-qualifying conferences and those who don’t. One of the ideas that came through on the BCS debate was to exchange some of the noncompetitive “guarantee” games at the beginning of the season for a 64-team playoff at the end and use the TV money from the playoff to recoup losses from the missing regular-season games.
It’s a proposal that could puncture the long-held contention of college presidents that a playoff would take too many athletes out of the classroom for too long. It’s also the kind of proposal — a December version of March Madness — that resonates with fans who have grown tired of the BCS; a pie-in-the-sky idea for sure, though some faculty think a little dreaming isn’t bad for a group such as this one.
“This is my first time here and I’m seeing very little dreaming,” said Timothy Ross, a civil engineering professor at New Mexico. “I’m seeing people wedded to the current model and asking, ‘What tweaks do we need to make this work?’ Well, it’s not going to work because the thing is spiraling out of control.”
The professors also debated the pros and cons of going for a congressional antitrust exemption for college sports, which would allow the NCAA to better regulate spiraling coaches’ salaries and other costs. It’s an idea that could level the playing field in some ways and generally sounds better to the smaller Division I schools than the bigger ones.
Even proponents of the antitrust exemption concede a move like that could take years and millions in legal expenses.
More readily accomplished are some proposals that have already been debated at NCAA meetings.
Last year, the NCAA approved a $2,000 expense allowance for athletes, though the stipend has since run into opposition that will delay its implementation. An option to replace one-year renewable scholarships with multiyear scholarships, which were phased out in the 1970s, also received NCAA approval, though that new rule has also run into roadblocks.
“To me, what they’re attempting to do with multiyear scholarships is on the verge of miraculous,” said New Haven professor Allen Sack, the president-elect of the reform-minded Drake Group who spoke at the COIA meeting. “It’s not there yet and there’s a possibility it’ll be voted down. But it’s a baby step in the right direction and one of the first steps in the right direction I’ve seen in decades.”
COIA tackled the question of the “pay-for-play” model that many feel the $2,000 stipend represents and also discussed whether it would be appropriate to return to the days when freshmen couldn’t play on the varsity.
The overriding idea is to bring some balance back to college sports, a topic near to the heart of COIA co-chair John Nichols, who has spent the last 35 years at Penn State and has been through a heart-wrenching couple of months, along with so many others at that school.
“If this is a turning point for the better, it’s great and we’re going to do our best to facilitate that,” Nichols said. “But even if it’s going in the toilet, we’re not going to let it go down without a fight. I don’t know the answer to all our questions. But the reason most of us are here is that just walking away is not an option.”
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press