(Note: This is my opinion only - this is not going to be based on any research the University may be (or may not be) doing. This is intended to educate Villanova fans and alumni of the very real concerns that NOT moving up will bring to our school. Please share your thoughts in the comments and respond to the poll at the bottom. I intend to send all comments and poll results directly to the school president. The more input we get on here, the more our voices will be heard by the school in a major decision.)
We have all heard the pro's and con's of moving up to the FBS-level of football. We're not going to go over those in this post today. Instead, I'm going to propose a hypothesis, and a very real one that could happen, should we decide to decline the BIG EAST's invitation to join their conference as a football member. It may come as a surprise to many of you, but the impact of this decision is going to be felt primarily on the basketball front.
Jay Wright built the Villanova program to where it is today. 10 years ago, who among you thought we'd be an annual Top-10 program? Top-25? People I've talked were happy when ANYONE committed to the program. These days we celebrate 4 and 5-star recruits.
We pack out a 20,000 seat arena at least 5 times a year. Like it or not (and by all means, if you don't like this, find another school) Villanova, primarily because of Jay Wright and the basketball program, have become a national name. People all across the country know who we are. That wasn't always true. It certainly wasn't true before Jay Wright.
Jay Wright loves Villanova. He truly wants to stay here and become our Jim Calhoun, our Jim Boeheim, our Mike Krzyzewski. Jay Wright wants our football program to move up because he wants this school to reach new levels than nobody thought were possible. This has been well-documented at numerous alumni events. The biggest name at our school wants to move up, because he, like so many of us who are actively involved in the sports program, sees the writing on the wall.
We'll continue this after The Jump.
The conferences are shifting - our own has already begun after adding the TCU Horned Frogs to the mix as an all-sports member. The Central Florida Knights and the Houston Cougars have also been discussed, along with us. So far, we're the only other school with an official invite. But that invite isn't going to last forever, and here's why:
The Temple Owls.
Seriously. The BIG EAST is interested in them. As much as we consider them a little brother, they pose a real threat, because they, like us, can provide the BIG EAST the Philadelphia market. And that's what this really comes down to, as always. Money.
Let's just say for a second that we do decline the offer to join. What does the BIG EAST do? They go right to Temple. And Temple would LOVE to join the BIG EAST. No questions asked. What that does is decrease our own value to the BIG EAST.
The conference is already talking about getting up to 12 football teams, but going to no more than 18 basketball teams. That means some basketball-only schools will get kicked out. If Temple joins the conference, the likelihood that we are one of those schools increases ten-fold. It doesn't matter that we're one of their prized basketball programs. Heck, they could kick all the basketball schools out and be just fine.
So what happens from there? We're probably playing hoops with the Dayton's and Xavier's of the world. And more scary, our very own Jay Wright probably isn't coaching for us anymore. He wants to be at a big-time school. He considers Villanova a big-time school right now. If we get booted from the BIG EAST and have to form another conference? He's bolting. Lock it down. It will happen should these events take place. He's a young and hungry coach. He'd leave us before we sunk to new lows. And I can't blame him. I'd do the same thing.
So why are we not running to the BIG EAST scream "Yes! Yes! A Thousand Times Yes!" - I have no idea. Maybe it's because the teachers are completely against it. Maybe the rumours that the development office are trying to kill it are true. The fact remains that the one major issue I see is money.
If we, 'Nova Nation, can't show our support to the school that we're behind this, maybe we don't deserve it. I've already made my pledge to donate a lot more than I should (I'm an '09 grad without much money). Have you? If not, you should do that immediately.
Everyone I've talked to that graduated with me wants this as badly as I do. And even more that didn't graduate with me want it as well.
What are you going to do to help make this happen?