Last week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Big East Conference power brokers, which include Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick, convened for the league’s spring meetings with a higher sense of urgency than ever before. With conference realignment another domino falling from another round of massive change, and the fact that a football playoff system is probably a month or so away from being finalized, the Big East seems to many to be on borrowed time.
Syracuse, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, with varying timelines, are on their way out. Louisville says it will accept an invitation from the Big 12 if one ever materializes. Then there’s Notre Dame, which is in a position to hold the group together despite not being a full-time member. That could all change if the Fighting Irish are forced to join a conference in football, which likely wouldn’t be the Big East.
Everyone with a keyboard and Internet access has weighed in on the topic, but here are a few excellent pieces worth checking out:
Column • New York Times
Here’s a snippet from Pete Thamel’s piece last week:
If television producers wanted to cast the Big East Conference as a 1980s sitcom, the plot would revolve around a series of hastily arranged marriages constructed to avoid deportation. As the conference braced to grow to 18 teams in basketball and 13 in football and stretch from Boise to Providence to Tampa, its many athletic directors, coaches and officials met here this week. Call them college athletics’ “Imperfect Strangers.”
Joe Bailey, the conference’s interim commissioner, summed up the uncertainty — “change is sort of the new normal” — as jokes about the necessity for name tags filled the conference rooms. As awkward as this marriage of mutual desperation may appear, it can still be fiscally productive. For now.
Column • Cincinnati.com
The Big East has been the face of disaster, when it comes to conference realignment. As schools come and go like streetcars, the Big East is either re-inventing itself or readying the lifeboats. No one knows. “Uncertainty in the landscape,’’ [Cincinnati AD Whit] Babcock understates.
Report • Philadelphia Enquirer
Never mind that Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut, and Notre Dame have been mentioned as teams that could leave for other conferences.
The mood at the meetings was one of togetherness.
"I have great confidence in the Big East," said Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
Swarbrick even added that his inquiries with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds about Big 12 interest were taken out of context.