Fall schedules were thrown together by league Athletic Directors before the Big East even had a commissioner. The Winter and spring, however, remains a work-in-progress, with Val Ackerman telling ESPN that the schedule for basketball will take a few more weeks to announce.
That should sound familiar to fans of seven of the new leagues' 10 schools, who are used to the traditionally-late Big East basketball schedule. Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall and St. John's all play the majority of their games in an arena that they lease from a professional basketball or hockey team, while Villanova traditionally plays a portion of its schedule at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. The use of those pro-arenas adds cachet for the schools that do it, but it also makes finding home dates for scheduling complicated.
Now with a smaller membership, a greater percentage of the league will be playing on borrowed hardwood.
The conference and it's television partner, Fox Sports 1 (which launches in 10 days), is still looking to launch the basketball league's internal schedule with a five-game made-for-television marathon on New Years' Eve. That should see all of the conferences' men's basketball programs playing on the same day in back-to-back tip-offs.
The league still has a lot of overhead business to conduct before it is running at full speed, though it seems that the conference is not in a rush to get everything resolved before the fall sports season launches. Former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is continuing to offer consulting services to the league as Ackerman operates out of a temporary office in Manhattan. The league still needs to find a permanent office space in New York City and hire staff to perform a number of vital league functions.
So far the conference has hired a director of officials and brought in former Big East and American Conference associate commissioner John Paquette to lead the media and public relations efforts. Andy Katz reports that, among the open positions at the league office, the Big East is still looking for a full time staff member to manage television relationships.
Big Monday schedule released; ACC replaces Big East
When ESPN released it's Big Monday schedule, it was missing something that had been a constant since the Monday night college basketball slate launched in 1987 -- the Big East Conference. Instead, the Worldwide Leader will air the ACC alongside games from the Big 12 conference this season.
It should come as no surprise that the Big East Monday Night tradition on ESPN is coming to an end. The conference fell to pieces during last season and has now been re-named to The American Athletic Conference ("The American"), and while that league will still be strong in college hoops this season (with Louisville, UConn, Memphis and Temple), it can hardly hold a candle to the ACC. The new Big East Conference, meanwhile, is a new corporate entity that sold all of its television rights to ESPN-competitor Fox Sports 1.
Fox Sports retains a right to sell some Big East games to other networks, including to ESPN, according to reports. However, ESPN can't be expected to feature content bought from a competitor in such a high-profile slot.
Big East to land on MSG Network too
Fox Sports 1 plans to farm out at least some of it's Big East basketball inventory to regional cable networks and in most-cases the national broadcaster already owns a piece of those. Fox Sports Ohio, for example, is a natural home for Xavier games. Fox Sports regional networks can cover most of the new Big East footprint, but there is a giant hole on their map in the New York market.
Of course, Fox is also a minority owner of the New York Yankees' YES Network, so it was no surprise when the most-watched regional sports network signed on to pick up up-to-10 Big East basketball games. Now, the conference's television partner has announced a similar deal with the MSG Network, adding an additional 10 games to regional television in the New York City market.
Both networks also announced that they would air around 23 ACC Men's Basketball games and ACC football in addition to the Big East inventory.