A different kind of conference realignment
Posted December 16, 2012
Finally, a group of schools "gets it."
Seven schools are leaving the Big East for reasons other than geographic expansion and pursuit of television revenue.
Instead, these schools - all private, Catholic and non-FBS in football - are leaving for something unique in today's climate: a commonality of purpose.
The end result will be a basketball-centric conference closely resembling the original mission of the Big East, which only began competing in football in 1991. This stands in stark contrast to the ever-sprawling monolith the Big East is quickly becoming, all in a desperate attempt to maintain its relevance in football - a relevance which seems unattainable given the current landscape.
I understand why the major football conferences are growing. New territories mean new television revenue, money which benefits those schools lucky enough to be in one of the big five football conferences. But, I don't like a lot of the side effects of expansion.
Regional rivalries are being cast aside. It boggles my mind to think games like Texas-Texas A&M and Missouri-Kansas are no longer annual occurrences. But those rivalries are casualties of the Big 12 breakup. For an example that hits closer to home, I still shake my head when I think of Duke and N.C. State only playing once a year in basketball - and just occasionally in football. And then there's Maryland...
The current trend suggests bigger is better as far as conference size, and that trend will likely continue in the near future. But I wouldn't be surprised if 10-20 years from now a "correction" of sorts happens. And if it does, I hope it resembles what these Big East schools are doing - and we're left with conferences that reflect regional rivalries and the similarities between the member schools. Those offer more for fans, I believe. And let's face it... fans are the ones buying tickets and subscribing to cable.