San Diego State stays in the Mountain West…More hurt to the Big East

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The best move Big East commissioner Mike Aresco made at last weekend’s meeting of league presidents was no move at all.  Aresco made no attempt to talk San Diego State into staying on as a football member of his league, in the face of growing expectations that the shcool would follow suit with Boise State.  Two weeks ago, in the wake of the latest defections from the Big East to the Big Ten and the ACC, Boise State announced it would not meet it’s committment to join the Big East and would, instead, return to the Mountain West, which agreed to pay the Broncos Big East exit fee.  One of the terms of San Diego State’s committment to the Big East was there would be no exit fee attached if it chose to leave as a result of Boise State’s departure.  The decision was a no-brainer.  Once again you can’t tell the players in the Big East without a scorecard.  At the moment only ten names remain on the sheet for 2013, UConn, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, Central Florida, Memphis, SMU, Houston and Temple.  Rutgers and Louisville have already made plans to jump to the Big Ten and ACC respectively, SMU, Houston, Central Florida and Memphis are all newcomers who have yet to play a game in the Big East, leaving UConn, Cincinnati, South Florida and Temple as the only current Big East teams committed beyond this year, a dangerous situation in that it turns over the majority decision making power to the seven non football schools who have already announced plans to form their own league and sue for the right to keep the Big East name and maintain the basketball tournament relationship with Madison Square Garden.  East Carolina and Tulane are scheduled to join the Big East in 2014, as replacements for Louisville and Rutgers, but, with Boise State and San Diego State out before they were ever in, the league may try to accelerate their entry to this year while attempting to increase East Carolina’s committment from football only to all sports.  Navy is scheduled to join the football league in 2015, but that would leave the league unbalanced, giving it two years to find twelfth member, with Tulsa and UMass among the candidates.  Geographically, East Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa, the football league wouldn’t have much of an argument to maintain it’s relationship with Madison Square Garden.  St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown and Providence offering a more attractive field for local fans, all within a three hour drive or comfortable train ride of midtown Manhattan.  The current Big East football alignment has already lost it’s status with the BCS, now it’s likely to lose the established Big East brand and it’s power marriage with the World’s Most Famous Arena.  With the BCS leagues all on course for filling 16 institution footprints and the Big East already down to UMass and Tulsa just to get to 12, the football structure, with UConn and Cincinnati now representing the top of the league, is likely to put it even behind the MAC and Conference USA when the dust of realignment has settled, which is right where anyone who failed to understand from the beginning that it was all about football belongs.  With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.


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