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The Catholic 7 will officially separate from the Big East to form their own conference on July 1. However, while the men's basketball tournament will inherit the old conference's rights with Madison Square Garden, the location for the women's tournament is unclear. For more on the Big East conference's transition process, visit SB Nation - College Basketball's storystream.
In the wake of the departures of Louisville and Rutgers, seven schools have agreed to leave the Big East conference. For more on this issue, check out our Big East conference "realignment" storystream.
Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant takes a look at the ACC's decision to add Louisville to the conference instead of UConn and although he highlights the relative strength of each school's football program, a little old fashioned networking certainly didn't hurt.
Much of the passion of Louisville fans can be traced to the success of athletic director Tom Jurich, who after 15 years at Louisville is considered one of the most powerful athletic administrators in the country. Jurich has clout with administrators, especially at Southern football schools, and he consistently sold Louisville as an attractive program over the past decade to coaches, fellow athletic directors, TV executives, anyone who mattered.
So, when Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten and the pundits predicted that UConn - academically ranked as one of the top 25 public universities in the country - would be the school to get the ACC invitation, Jurich worked the people he knew. After he won, he said, "We were definitely the underdogs. People had UConn not penciled in, but penned in."
The consistent theme running throughout the article is that UConn simply needs to continue building its fanbase and program to the point where it will be attractive to any suitor.
Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com understandably mocked the entirety of this Tulane to Big East deal earlier today, writing in his concluding comments, "Is this good for Tulane? I don't know. Who cares? It's Tulane. That's the point. It's Tulane."
Given the history of Green Wave football and men's basketball that he describes - the revenue/television sports - that really is the point; it's a somewhat bizarre move. But for women's basketball fans it's a bit more interesting, perhaps - Tulane is certainly no Rutgers, but they've held their own in recent years advancing to the second round of the WNIT for the past couple of years after falling by 5 to Georgia in 2010.
Wikipedia has a summary of their program as well.
Tulane's women's basketball program has found continuous success under the coaching of Lisa Stockton, who began at Tulane in 1995. That year, Stockton led the team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and was named Metro Conference Coach of the Year. That first appearance began a string of 9 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. The team has been regular-season C-USA champions 4 times, most recently in the 2009–10 season, when they held a 23–6 record (14–2 in C-USA). In addition, they have won the C-USA tournament 5 times: 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, and 2009–10. Lisa Stockton is the winningest coach in C-USA history and has twice been named C-USA Coach of the Year (2006–07 and 2009–10).
Not bad and, if nothing else, the move to the Big East could help them with recruiting.
If there was any question whatsoever about what matters most in college athletics, simply turn your attention to the conference that has nearly completed its complex strategy to expand to the east, west, south and north somewhat.
Today the Big East is expected to announce the addition of Tulane as a full member and East Carolina as a football-only member. Jason Kirk of SB Nation laid out what the Tulane move - of most relevance to us as basketball fans - means for the Big East.
Adding Tulane would give the Big East another major media market and a school with a good academic reputation, but nothing in the way of serious sports success (football has been to two bowls since 1987, and basketball hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 1995). It would also add yet another mark on the very broad map that is the future Big East, expanding the whole thing even further away from the Northeastern basketball cluster it was born as.
If you were wondering what would become of the Big East with Rutgers departing and Connecticut and Louisville being prime candidates for the ACC, there you have it.
For more on the domino effect of Rutgers moving to the Big "Ten", check out our conference expansion storystream.
Rutgers University's departure from the Big East might end up triggering a domino effect that leads to the dismantling of one of the more dominant conferences in women's college basketball in recent years (on the strength of UConn and Notre Dame's success alone, if nothing else).
Multiple reports have Boise State and San Diego State reconsidering their move to the Big East in light of recent developments, as described at SBNation.com yesterday, while BYU is also considering its move away from the MWC in light of playoff possibilities.
One of the primary reasons the Broncos and Aztecs moved to the Big East for football was the increase in television revenue. But now the Mountain West and Big East would be on equal footing for the playoffs because of the BCS' decision to grant an automatic berth to the highest ranked champion from the "Group of Five" conferences. Additionally, the Big East could be losing TV revenue with the departure of Rutgers and Louisville or Connecticut, meaning it may make more financial sense for Boise State and SDSU to remain in the Mountain West.
In addition to those potential defections, there have been rumors of the ACC now looking at either Connecticut or Louisville as a potential replacement for Maryland, which has also chosen to depart for the Big Ten with Rutgers. Mike Rutherford of SBN's Card Chronicle has outlined the pros and cons of UConn and UofL, obviously leaning toward the latter.
U of L is getting a lot of support right now from higher-ups at other universities who recognize how successful the program has been in athletics across the board (you know, like actual games, and stuff) since it joined the Big East. Also, Louisville sports make a lot of money.
There's a very easy case to be made for why Louisville should be the ACC's 14th member, but in the end it's going to come down to convincing a handful of individuals whose interests and priorities aren't clear.
Obviously, UConn is among the strongest women's basketball programs in the nation - if not the strongest - which would make the ACC a powerhouse basketball conference. But Louisville is a solid program as well and if geography ends up playing a factor in the decision - which doesn't seem like a given these days - the Cardinals might have an edge.
SB Nation's Rutgers blog On the Banks has already laid the groundwork for the Big East's obituary.
Big East basketball on the other hand...there is no limit to the calamities that deserve to happen to the Providence College mafia that bled a once-proud conference dry. That's what kills me about all this. The Big East should have worked. It was not done in by anything other than internal sabotage. I hope the football schools survive, but all of the basketball-only programs will now hopefully sink back down to the irrelevance that they rightly earned. We WANTED a powerful eastern conference, we begged, pleaded, fought kicking and screaming to the very end when you cronies just wanted to loot everything blind for your glorified social club. This is the Jeremiad you deserve. Rot and decay in hell you unscrupulous bastards.
Back on March 12, Charles P. Pierce wrote for Grantland that, "The Big East is losing big teams and replacing them with smaller ones, because, as is the case with so many colleges in so many conferences around the country, the administrations of some of its members have let their greed eclipse both geography and common sense."
In related news, a clean version of DJ Quik's Dollars and Cents should get serious consideration for the NCAA's new theme song and help to present a conceptual framework for the new common sense that has emerged from the wreckage of amateur athletics.
According to sources who are familiar with the situation, the University of Maryland, College Park and Rutgers University are in talks to join the Big Ten Conference. At the University of Maryland, a decision to change conferences may be made within the next few days.