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Big East will keep its name, says commissioner Mike Aresco

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(The Associated Press)

The Big East has decided it likes its somewhat confusing name.

Trying to stay relevant, the Big East expanded, adding teams like Temple, Central Florida and Memphis that, more or less, fit into the geographical identity of the conference. Then came new additions Boise State, San Diego State and two programs from Texas — puzzling moves considering the conference's original identity and history stemming from the Atlantic seaboard. It made sense that the Big East might need a new name to reflect its current hodgepodge of affiliations.

But not so fast. Talking to the media Saturday morning before Temple hosted Maryland at Lincoln Financial Field, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco denied any changes to the conference's moniker are forthcoming.

"We have no plans to change the name," he said, according to Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia. "We are looking at pretty much everything, because the conference is reinvented. We're reinventing it. Obviously it's going to be a bigger conference, it's going to be a more national conference in scope."

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Why all the focus on the name game? Former Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey said this past Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York City that a name change could be in the works. In fact, Bailey indicated that a committee was in place to explore the issue.

"The unintended consequences of adding new schools is that all of a sudden the Big East is a national conference," Bailey said according to Bloomberg.com. "It extends to four time zones in major markets. In one sense, it almost represents the United States in that diversity."

It is a tricky proposition for the Big East. While the conference has slipped in terms of prestige over the past decade, there is plenty of history and tradition associated with the Big East and it would be a shame to eradicate that with a name change. And more than just football, the Big East brand in basketball still carries a tremendous amount of weight and identity.

But given the changing geographical landscape of the conference, at least on the football side, what should the Big East do? Sacrifice the history of the conference's name or continue being the nonsensical Big East with programs scattered across the U.S.?

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