Big East Expansion: Basketball Programs Want Pitt & Syracuse Out?

Despite the fact that commissioner John Marinatto continues to preach that the members of his conference want to stick together and save the Big East (if you missed it, UConn and Rutgers are NOT committed to this plan), it appears that not everyone is on board with keeping Syracuse and Pittsburgh around for the Marinatto-imposed 27-month exit plan.

There is a feeling in the basketball programs at some member schools that the eventual departure of Pitt and Syracuse will provide some breathing room, that the league had become too great for its own good.

I can't say I'm that surprised. The basketball schools have had almost no say in this whole matter - and that's after they did the football-schools a solid and accepted TCU as an all-sports member despite the fact that the Big East had apparently no plan to bring somebody else in, leaving the league stuck with 17 teams at the time.

It's no surprise that the biggest issue here is the split between football and basketball schools. The football schools hold the power because their sport generates the most money for everyone, and they know it. Now it appears that although the best solution for the conference as a whole is to keep Pitt and Syracuse around until they can secure new members (to keep the league's BCS bid intact), but the basketball schools don't want to play nice anymore.

Despite that animosity, it seems that there is some sentiment that Navy and Air Force are ready to come on board, and it might be time to move on.

There is a feeling among some Big East member schools that if the league can withstand the initial disappointment about Pitt's and Syracuse's departures and locate adequate partners for the football side of their operation, the league’s strong position in the heavily populated Northeast and in large media markets such as Tampa still has value.

"If we survive, the league survives, you’re still in an area where there’s human life," the source said.

By the way, that quote makes my head hurt.


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