What's in a name that has been dragged through the mud, a name currently synonymous with disfunction and a flailing conference?
The Big East's name has historical value; and to be fair, the urge of the basketball schools to take that name as they break from the conference reaches back to their history as a basketball-first conference, a conference that reflected the northeast's strength in hoops while the expanses of the midwest and south threw themselves pad-first into the endeavor of football.
History is what has held the basketball schools together.
Is it worth it?
“St. John’s would love to keep the BIG EAST name, but as President of St. John’s, I’d want to hear from the football schools how important it is to them and then we’d come to some resolution," Reverend Donald Harrington said last weekend to the media. "But it would be difficult for us to lose the name, but at the same time that would not stop us in this process."
It turns out that, for the right price, the Big East would give up the Big East name for something a little more... appropriately descriptive for a conference that should span the continent.
Sell the name ""Big East"" to the basketball schools after getting some assurances from the NCAA that the cost of losing the Big East name will not cost them too much in the lucrative NCAA basketball tournament. If the name is sold to the new Big East, the old Big East will petition the NCAA to get a 32nd guaranteed spot for its champion.
Aresco is unlikely to do this until after next season since the Big East name still has a guaranteed BCS bowl slot for one more year if it can maintain its composition.
After the bowl games are played next season, then the old Big East can fade into oblivion in terms of its name.
But is it worth it? Does the Big East name mean enough history to the schools? Or would it be better to forge a new conference with a new name, embracing a mission-based instead of geographic ideal, eschewing the history that includes so much of Syracuse and Pittsburgh and being jilted by schools looking to the south and falling for the revenues of football?
Boston College professor Warren Zola finds this an interesting idea.
"A Catholic basketball conference could be a way back to the roots of why conferences came together initially," Zola said. "I think it's fantastic if some leaders in intercollegiate athletics can put the brakes on chasing every dollar out of their potential in athletics and refocus on their purpose as an institution."
Though of course... Butler is sexy, and Butler is not a Catholic institution. And Butler helps propel the new conference, starting play around 2014, into a higher level of attractiveness for media professionals and the common fan who pays much more attention to the NCAA Tournament and their March Madness pool than they do to the grind of January conference basketball.
There is no indication how MUCH buying a conference name goes for. But that will come.
Your thoughts? Is the Big East name worth paying for?