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Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

Posted on: September 20, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 9:47 pm
Before the sudden news broke last weekend that Pittsburgh and Syracuse were leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East was in the final stages of acquiring Navy as a football-only member.

No official invitation was extended by the league, but both parties had extensive discussions about Navy joining the league in football only and it very well could have happened in the next couple of weeks, college football industry sources told

Besides Navy, the Big East also was targeting Air Force and league sources felt confident both schools would have been Big East members, perhaps within the next year – that is until Pitt and Syracuse announced they were leaving for the ACC.

“Navy is one of the most special things out there, prestige,” said an administrator who would benefit from Navy being in a BCS league. 

“I don't see why Air Force doesn’t fit in a BCS league,” said the same person. “Class, class, class.”

However, with the Big East’s future now in limbo, it’s uncertain if Navy and/or Air Force will remain interested in joining either a Big East without Pitt and Syracuse or a merger of leftover teams from the Big East and Big 12 conferences. That is, in fact, if the Big 12 loses Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech to the Pac-12.

Navy is one of four independents with Army, Notre Dame and BYU, but doesn’t enjoy the automatic qualifying BCS access that Notre Dame does. Navy is in solid shape now with its own television deal, but with the division growing by the second between the automatic qualifying BCS leagues and non-AQ BCS leagues, Navy might feel it has better long-term security in an AQ BCS league.

“There were discussions and dialogues on a number of issues,” said an individual with knowledge of the talks between Navy and the Big East. “The question now is: what is the Big East going to look like in the future? How do they right the ship? I don’t think they even know that.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday night in New York, the league’s presidents and athletic directors from Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia will meet with Big East commissioner John Marinatto to discuss the league’s future.

The meeting is for the league’s decision makers to gather face-to-face and see who wants to be a part of the Big East’s future.

“If they don’t want to be in the league, then they should make their intentions known and leave,” said one league official.

Also on Monday officials from Big East schools and the Big 12 schools proposed meeting Wednesday in Chicago to discuss the possible merger between the conferences. However, it was decided that meeting would that not be held because of legal issues involving both leagues.

UConn and Rutgers have been reported as possible candidates to the ACC, while West Virginia targeted the ACC or SEC, but was notified that neither league was interested.


Since: Nov 5, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:59 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

I have always said that UCF should be in the Big East.  I don't see why the idiots at BIG EAST headquarters can't see a sleeping giant.  

Since: Sep 20, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:33 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

I understand that Navy brings with it a large number of fans who are geographically spread out not just nationally, but also internationally, but future prospect of improving their level of competition is permanently limited by their status as a service academy.  They simply aren't likely to improve the quality of their football recruits based on this move, they are a fantastic institution and have amazing students (whether athletes or not), but they aren't likely to attract BCS AQ quality athletes (over an above those who area already making the decision to serve).  They are better off as an independent or even banding together with the other service academies to increase their media and scheduling power.  The Big East would be the biggest beneficiaries from bringing them on, I just don't see the upside for the the school.  They already have their own media contract.

I'm not really sure who at the Big East is really pulling the strings, perhaps it's the school presidents, but I don't understand how the hell they go about making these ridiculous moves.  The Big East commissioner is to blame here and needs to be replaced by someone else, but it may already be too late.  His job is to build concensus on direction that brings stability and strength to the conference, but by all accounts this guy is allowing the short sighted focus of individual schools cause fractures in the unity of the league.

The New York Times "The Quad" blog had a really good article attempting to provide some insight into the popularity of FBS FB programs in the lower 48 (you can Google it).  The information presented there (which admittedly isn't scientific), attempts to quantify the fan-base for college football teams.  I would hope that the Big East would be using a similar market analysis to determine who could add the most value to the league.  UH get thrown around a great deal as a top prospect, but a minority of commenters on many of the forums out there have pointed out that while UH is in a top TV market, they don't bring that market.  They may have a decent team, but the focus needs to be one of value to the business, and UH just isn't likely to add value enought to impress the cable sports networks into offering more money.  Villanova?  Really?  Steadfast insistence by several member schools on adding them may very well have had a strong influence on Pitt and SU leaving.  Again, another school that doesn't add any value to negotiating a lucrative media contract.

I am a UCF alumnus and long-time fan (during the good times, bad times, and very bad times), so I'm likely to be flamed for that alone, but of all the non-AQ programs out there we make the most business sense for the Big East to have added.

- 2nd largest university in the US
- New facilities (sure it's a metal stadium, but hey Pitt and USF don't even have their own stadium).
*~47k capacity, upgradeable to ~65k
- increasingly recognized for academic quality (tops of CUSA for student athlete academic performance).
- 19th largest TV market in the US.
- Already recruiting better than many AQ schools. (School and facilities state of the art, Central Florida is an awesome place to live)
- Potential to be a strong draw for away fans and their families. 
- Potential for a HEATED rivalry game with USF.

That time may have passed though, and we may very well get our shot at BCS anyhow if a CUSA/MWC play-in game can be worked out.  I know we've been clammoring to get out of CUSA, but everyday this stuff drags on our current conference is starting to look better and better.

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

 maybe it is ego that made them believe that their basketball conference was going to keep members in check.
I gotta admit, I always thought the BEast teams were safe because nobody wanted to leave such a prestigious basketball conference.

I didn't see this one coming, but credit to John Swofford for nabbing more Big East schools. 

Since: Sep 17, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:22 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

I agree they need to decided what kind of league they are. The basketball only schools need to be told to either pony up and do football or leave and they can go after ECU and UCF, Maybe Houston and SMU. 

Since: Nov 8, 2009
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:15 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

My Bad. Stupidity. I need to learn where Texas is. I meant Midwest. Try not to let that contradict what I said about Texas lol...

Since: Nov 8, 2009
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:14 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

As a Air Force fan this amuses me. The Big East needs a lesson in kindergarten. Colorado is in the WEST. Texas in the East. They've become a joke, and they've made mistakes.

The ACC was smart and they're surviving because. Even though at least half their conference would go to the SEC, no member openly said so in fear of being rejected and being ridiculed. They then got em to lock-in with a huge buyout. It ticks me off Auburn might go to the East but the ACC is smart.

Lets see the targets the Big East has: UCF, East Carolina, Southern Mississippi, Army, Navy, Notre Dame. They continue to think heading West is the answer with schools in Colorado and Texas, and forgetting some of the NEARBY, Geographically-Correct markets. Its made them become a laugh and they very well might pay for the mistakes.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: September 20, 2011 7:03 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

What really needs to happen is the Big East needs to decide if it's a football & basketball conference or some kind of hodgepodge conference.  This garbage about having a school join for one sport but not another is crap.  I would have great respect for John Marinatto if he came to the conference room with representatives of all Big East schools and laid down the law.  You're in for all sports or we don't have a place for you.

Deliver the ultimatum to basketball-only schools like Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown.  Let them know that if they can't step up and commit across the board, you're leaving them behind and gunning for every two-sport school in the remains of the Big 12.  Envision a Big East (or whatever they want to call themselves down the road) that boasts Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, South Florida, and West Virginia.  Clearly the shift would be away from the East Coast and into direct competition with the Big Ten.  Maybe that's a good thing, maybe not.  I would say that the competitive balance would be there in both sports where it isn't now.

Since: Jan 8, 2008
Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:50 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

The Big East is on life support and the plug is about to be removed.  UConn and Pitt leaving diminishes the Basketball side tremendously.  They should have seen the writing on the wall and made moves to lock up 12 teams a while ago, maybe it is ego that made them believe that their basketball conference was going to keep members in check.  Once Miami and BC left the Big East failed to move also and this has now become its downfall.  Shut down the Big East and let the cannibals come in for the feast.

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:41 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

No..please Navy don't join a conference.  Remain an independent.  We are the worlds most powerful fighting force and joining a league means we now have collusion.  With who,... Notre Dame.  Really?  Let's just form a flag football league with Elko, Pensacola, Miramar, and Coronado.  Stick to your honor, courage, and commitment.  You don't the money in a school where character comes first.  

Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: September 20, 2011 6:35 pm

Navy nearly to Big East before Pitt, SU exited

Navy needs to get with Army, Air Force, and Notre Dame and join the Big Ten; Army and Navy in the Leaders Division, Notre Dame and Air Force in the Legends Division.

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