November 19, 2012;College Par, MD, USA; Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney speaks during the Big Ten Press Conference at Adele Stamp Union. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Multiple outlets across the internet are propogating rumors that indicate the Big East is soon to go the way of the dodo bird and the WAC. West Virginia was fortunate to escape this sinking ship when they did.
Following the departure of WVU, Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and TCU, the Big East turned to Conference USA and the Mountain West to poach together a patchwork conference of misfits. The Big East membership has grown to or will soon grow to include:
- Football Only: San Diego State, Boise State, Temple, and Navy
- All Sports: Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston, SMU, UCF, USF, Connecticut, and Rutgers
- Non-Football: St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Providence, Villanova, and Seton Hall
The recent revelation in conference realignment is the jump by Maryland to the Big Ten to be followed by the highly anticipated announcement that Rutgers will follow suit tomorrow and also join the Big Ten. That is just the tip of the iceberg with the rumored Big East defections.
Major news outlets like ESPN have speculated that the ACC would be likely to replace Maryland with a school like Connecticut, which would take the current Big East slate of football schools down from 12 to 10 for the 2013 season, costing the Big East the opportunity to host a championship game.
With the anticipated plundering of the Big East set to begin, many news outlets have been quick to jump on the rumors surrounding the doom of the Big East. Defection rumors include the following:
- The New York Daily News reports that Georgetown and St. John’s are considering jumping from the Big East to the ACC.
- ESPN is reporting that Boise State, San Diego State, and BYU are all in discussions to rejoin the Mountain West.
There are also the typical unconfirmed rumors that Louisville could be the target for the ACC instead of Connecticut and the possibility that the Big 12 might preempt the ACC and invite the Cardinals. If you stack up all those rumors, the Big East could be facing the possibility of their soon to be 13 team football league shrinking to 9 (Rutgers to Big Ten, UCONN/Louisville to ACC, Boise State and San Diego State to MWC), keeping in mind that Navy plans to join in 2015.
If all those rumors pan out, that would also reduce two of the top three targets for further Big East football expansion (BYU and Air Force). The loss of Georgetown and St. John’s would effectively open the door for the remainder of the non-football members to look at their options for new conference homes in the ACC, Atlantic 10, etc.
Of course, half the conference realignment rumors will never materialize, but with so many rumors floating about and no media rights deal in place, all signs point to the Big East collapsing. The next few months will likely determine the future of the Big East, if there is any future at all.