December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized
No it's not a band, it's the constant shuffle that is NCAA conference realignment. Graduating from a small Division-I school without football, I'm not a fan of the visions of four sixteen team mega-conferences that we seem to be heading for. Once that shift is done there is a pretty good chance that those 64 teams could leave the NCAA altogether. What would happen to March Madness and everything else that is great about college athletics? I don't know. But, perhaps, we shouldn't worry about crossing that bridge until we come to it.
News this week came of the seven catholic, non-football schools leaving the Big East to protect their own interest. Instantly, I threw fist pump in excitement. For a NCAA basketball fan this is a point for the good guys. Who wants to see the Big East's basketball product watered down by Central Florida, Tulane, and others? Instead we'll likely see a 12-team basketball conference with universities of similar interest. If you're keeping score at home, the seven schools leaving are St. John's, Seton Hall, Providence, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, and Villanova.
Speculation points to these seven teams likely splitting into two divisions and inviting Butler, Creighton, Dayton, Xavier, and Duquesne to join their party. There is even speculation that they could look to the West Coast and grab both Gonzaga and St. Mary's. The prospect of a basketball power conference with no affiliation to football just makes me all tingly inside. But the other portions of this that make me feel good is the karma spreading through the college landscape now.
Obviously expansion has been a product of expansion and greed. The University of Connecticut now has the karma train rolling into town. UConn has been knocking on the doors of the ACC, Big 12, etc. for a couple of years now, all while bashing the Big East. Now the Huskies find themselves in a terrible situation in a pretty mediocre football and basketball conference. Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma have always been evil men to the me in terms of the overall goals of college athletics.
The karma train trickles down even farther when you get to the Atlantic 10 and VCU. The Rams stabbed the CAA and the city of Richmond in the back this summer by making a hasty move to the A10. Just this week the CAA announced that their conference tournament to Baltimore, thus taking nearly 6 million dollars of annual economic impact away from the city of Richmond. Now VCU finds themselves in a, likely, watered down A10 without its crown jewels. I would even propose a revamped CAA conference featuring VCU, Richmond, George Washington, Charleston, UNCW, William & Mary, James Madison, George Mason, Towson, Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, and Northeastern could be better than a watered down A10. Not to mention the A10's TV deal is pretty terrible.
There is still a lot to happen as we await a conference call today. But one thing is for sure, this round of expansion is good for college basketball and its fans.