Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Biggest Mistakes by the Big East Conference: Fan’s Opinion
After the latest defections of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC, the Big East is in full panic mode in order to try and survive as a football conference.
The current expansion plans call for the Big East to add Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football only schools, and SMU, UCF and Houston as full members. Failing that, the Big East is considering merging its football teams with those from the Mountain West and Conference USA to form a 32 team Super Conference in football.
How does the Big East get into a position where it has to try and invite schools from Idaho (Boise State), Colorado (Air Force) and Texas (SMU and Houston) into the league, or merge with two other conferences to create a Super Conference to survive as a football league?
I've been a fan of the Big East since it was formed back in 1979 as a basketball conference. My favorite college basketball team, the Syracuse Orange, was a founding member of the Big East. I'm also a Rutgers Scarlet Knights fan in football, so I also follow Big East football.
The Big East got into a position where it has to invite teams from the west, or merge into a Super Conference in order to survive because it has made some pretty big mistakes in judgement over the years. These are the three biggest mistakes in my opinion.
Biggest Mistakes by the Big East Conference
3. Allowing the Basketball Schools to Rule the Roost
The Big East was originally formed in 1979 as a basketball conference. The league did not add football until 1991. Today, the league has six schools that play both basketball and football, Louisville, Cincinnati. Rutgers, South Florida, West Virginia and UConn. The Big East also has eight schools that play basketball but not football, Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, DePaul, Marquette and Seton Hall.
Over the years the league has allowed the basketball schools to have too much say over the football schools. The latest example is allowing Notre Dame, a Big East basketball only school, to vote on the $1.2 billion dollar football TV deal with ESPN. Notre Dame voted against the TV deal, leading the way as the conference rejected $1.2 billion dollars. If the Big East had approved that TV deal, Syracuse and Pitt would have stayed.
The Big East was crazy to let any basketball only school vote on a TV football deal, especially Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will have to negotiate a new TV deal for their football rights in the near future, and Notre Dame wants to squeeze every last dollar out of those rights. So the Fighting Irish led the way in rejecting the Big East TV football deal in the hopes the league could get more money. If Big East football gets more TV money, so will Notre Dame when its TV deal is up.
Notre Dame had nothing to lose by voting against the $1.2 billion dollar deal.
2. Allowing Notre Dame to Join without Football
Allowing Notre Dame to join the Big East as a full member in every sport but football has caused the conference nothing but trouble. All the football schools know they are getting less TV money than all the other major college football conference teams are. They all know that would not be true if Notre Dame was playing football in the Big East.
Notre Dame has its own huge TV deal for football, but gets the benefits of the Big East for every other sport. This has caused constant friction among the football schools in the league, and led to many departures. Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech left for the ACC in 2003, and Syracuse and Pitt will join them within a year or two. If Notre Dame was playing football in the Big East, the conference would have a much bigger TV deal, and none of the schools would have left.
3. Rejecting Penn State as a Member
Back in 1982, the Big East actually turned down Penn State as a member by a 5-3 vote (you needed six votes to get in, and Penn State only got five). The league was not playing football at that time, but if Penn State had been invited in, the Nittany Lions surely would have played football in the conference beginning in 1991, when the Big East added football.
Penn State is the third most popular college football team in the country , and has the third highest average attendance per home game in college football. With Penn State as a member, no school would have left the Big East for the ACC, or any other conference.
Both former commissioners of the Big East, Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese, knew that rejecting Penn State was a colossal mistake. After the 5-3 vote, Gavitt asked Tranghese his thoughts, and Tranghese replied, "We will rue this day".
As the Big East is preparing to invite teams from Idaho, Colorado and Texas into the conference, or trying to merge with two other conferences to create a 32 team Super Conference to try and survive as a football league, does anybody doubt that Tranghese was right?
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.