Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Philadelphia Daily News reported today that the Big East has asked Villanova about moving their football program to the FBS and the Big East. The conference offered no comment, but we're clearly at a "waiting for the officials to write up a statement" point in the process right now; the Big East certainly didn't deny their interest, and anonymous conference sources confirmed the invitation. If Nova wants it, it's there.
The logic here is understandable: currently, the only FBS college football program in Philadelphia is Temple, who is just terrible at football; if Villanova can bring their winning ways to the Big East, they've got a giant media market they can deliver to the conference. The Big East can probably make the invitation with a reasonable amount of confidence, having already seen such a switch work with UConn.
But if Villanova football wants to move up to the Big East, it won't be as easy as just filling out some paperwork and moving more athletic department money to the football program. They need a new stadium. Villanova Stadium only holds 12,500 fans, and FBS stadium rules require an average of 15,000 paid fans and capacity for at least 30,000. Is it really in the best interests of a school with fewer than 10,000 total students to invest the eight or nine figures in a new football stadium? That's the question Nova has to answer, and we're guessing they'll say "are you kidding yes of course build build build." Few universities get this type of opportunity to increase their visibility so suddenly--and even fewer turn the opportunity down.