I said it yesterday, and I'll say it once again.
Pitt and Syracuse leaving is very bad news for the Big East, and especially bad for ALL of the basketball programs, including St. John's. I got a few emails and comments that let me know that yesterday's post ruffled feathers. But that's what I see. And others see it too.
Today, the Athletic Directors of the non-football playing schools will meet for a teleconference to discuss their future; more on that as information emerges. Can they be convinced to stay together?
Georgetown, Seton Hall, and St. John's all issued statements standing by the Big East. And that's wise; the best place for the basketball-only schools to go is the place where they are - joined with schools that share some similar demographics and missions.
What other conversations about St. John's future are out there? More reactions around the effect on St. John's, below the fold.
Lou Carnesecca - who never wanted to join the Big East in the first place - weighed in to Ian O' Connor, saying, "we still have some good basketball teams in the Big East, and if we add some teams, people will still want to come and watch them play... I'm nostalgic about it now, but it's like when your kids get married and move out."
Charlie Zegers weighs in on the Nova Blog's fanciful notions of Villanova joining the ACC, stating that St. John's might be a good look to partner up with them to add a little more hoops power to the Atlantic Coast. This might be true, but basketball-only programs seem to be seen as dead weight in the conference shuffle, unfortunately.
The Big East has some options to save football, to be sure.
If Texas goes to the Pac-12 (which may be delayed weeks, at least), and takes Texas Tech and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, that leaves Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor, and Iowa State out there as schools with a dedication to big money football who need a home. Being unconvinced that every conference will want to go to 16 schools, I don't think the Big Ten snatches at those programs; and I think the SEC would take one, maybe Missouri - if they don't take West Virginia.
But I don't know. All I know is that the sands of college sports are shifting to chase the money pot in the Bowl Championship Series; and getting to that money pot requires being in the monarchy of the big families.
But there is money in high-end college basketball. And centered around hoops-mad New York, that could still bring in similar revenue from a media outlet if there is a compelling conference. Consider that ACC hoops is Duke and North Carolina and a number of programs without recent sustained success.
The Big East's basketball-only programs have scuffled in recent years, but all show strong signs of being very respectable - and NCAA Tournament worthy - again. With a combination of a strong talent base in the sport and strong hoops history, the league can make the case to be paid more than any other hoops-only deal, and hopefully still have every game broadcast on television or digitally.
Or, the money could decrease:
The major hold-up in any decision to form a new hoops-only conference is the realization that an all-Catholic Big East may not be able to obtain a similar television revenue distribution and exposure without the football members.
Money aside - and obviously, the money is the biggest thing - it would be nice to be part of a conference that doesn't prostrate itself in front of the False Champion system of the BCS.
We're keeping track of changes in the weather, here.