"I think that ship has sailed," Talley said to CSJ about his program moving to the Big East conference.
Talley has spent as much time talking about the Big East conference that his program isn't in, as he has about the team he will field this fall. It must be frustrating for the coach, who wants fans to come out to games, tailgate and support his program — regardless of conference — more than anything else.
Is FBS football a dream deferred or is it flat-out dead? The writer, Dave Coulson provides 134 of his own words to provide context a 43-word statement from Coach Talley. Context is better provided from the horses-mouth, however.
"[O]ur position hasn’t changed," Villanova athletic director Vince Nicastro said in an email. "We greatly value our relationship with the Big East Conference, and feel that we have contributed significant value to the conference and its membership over the past 30 some years. We remain committed to working with the membership/leadership of the Big East to create a vibrant and successful future moving forward."
As far as football is concerned, multiple sources indicated that the matter wasn't a dead issue.
"If a football opportunity arises that makes sense for us, we are fully prepared to give it all due consideration."
About a year ago, the Villanova Board of Trustees was prepared to endorse a move to the Big East conference for football, but the conference hit the brakes on that move a few days before the official vote was set to take place. Villanova cannot move to FBS football without an invitation from a bona fide conference, and unless the school were willing to leave the Big East conference, that invitation would have to come from within.
The Big East conference did provide Villanova with resources to "invest" in football, Nicastro confirmed, and some of those investments are already underway.
"The press conference with Temple and Villanova was just a month ago, and I’m not aware of any developments that would have changed in that short time," responded Big East communications chief, Chuck Sullivan.
There isn't an invitation on the table, or a timeline to offer an invitation from the Big East, that is true. The conference is focused on adding another western football school by 2015 in order to balance divisions and provide some geographical sense for Boise State and SDSU. Villanova football, in other words, won't be the next-in, but dialog will continue with the Big East, and the possibility remains open with both the school and the conference.
"In the meantime, we are focused on being the absolute best FCS program we can be and competing at the upper echelon of that division," Nicastro promised.
Fundraising with an eye toward building up the infrastructure that would facilitate an FBS move continues, and the school remains hopeful that it can end up on the right side of the shifting landscape of college athletics. University officials want to raise the profile of the university nationally, and football can be a part of that.
They won't throw the baby out with the bathwater, however, and basketball in the Big East is move valuable to Villanova than football in the MAC, C-USA or Sun Belt. That means that the school will wait for the Big East — as long as it takes.
It seems that the ship hasn't sailed, it is just in dry-dock.