Blog Entry

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Posted on: February 26, 2012 7:00 pm

Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese had pointed criticism for what he believes is behind conference realignment Sunday during an interview on SiriusXM satellite radio.

Tranghese said that he expects more school movement because “it’s almost like people can’t help themselves.” He added that if there is blame to go around, it should be directed to school presidents.

“I think point fingers at coaches, I think pointing fingers at television, point fingers at commissioners, it’s a joke,” Tranghese said during the interview. “The presidents are in charge.”

Tranghese, 67, remains one of the most respected figures in college athletics. He joined the Big East at its creation in 1979 before retiring as commissioner in 2009. Last year he told The Sporting News, “I would have worked another four or five years. I knew all this stuff was coming. I knew it wasn’t ending. I knew the football structure of the Big East was fragile. It’s a hard way to operate. The problem with Big East football is they didn’t win enough games.”

Here are Tranghese’s most interesting comments on SiriusXM.


SiriusXM: It looks to me as if maybe that (conference expansion) now has slowed down a bit. From your perspective how do you see where we are at right now?"

Tranghese: "I think it is temporary … I think there is going to be more movement.  I just think that it's almost like people can't help themselves.  Without mentioning specific conferences I just think there's going to be more movement.  I think the conferences that have moved recently are probably going to move again.  

“I mean, if you're willing to go from 12 to 14 [teams] then you're going to be willing to go from 14 to 16.  And I think there's going to be more money when you do that.  But I think there's a real negative side.  We're heading for supposedly these five super conferences with 16 teams.  At the end of the day … I think all it does is create more losers.  It doesn't create more winners.  It creates more losers.

“You're not playing true double-round robin in basketball anymore.  You can't even play everybody in football anymore.  I think the rivalries get diminished.  It's hard for me to be objective because I'm a Big East person and we've been hit and we've been ripped apart and I know the effect it has had on a lot of people, a lot of good people.  Now, some other people have probably benefitted from it but if that's what college athletics is all about then I'm missing the message because, you know, we're in the business of educating.  Even the way some people leave has been somewhat distasteful to me.  We're supposed to be setting examples and educating kids.  I think the only message we're sending 'em is: ‘If you can make more money, do what you have to do.’ “


SiriusXM: "I get the feeling as if, maybe appropriately, you're saying it is easy to point the finger of accountability towards TV..."

Tranghese:  "Oh, I don't blame TV at all...I point them at presidents … In 1990, they took over college athletics and said they were in charge. They're in charge, therefore they are responsible.  They're the ones …

“I think pointing fingers at coaches, I think pointing fingers at television, pointing fingers at commissioners, it's a joke.  The presidents are in charge.  When an institution picks up and leaves to go to another conference and leaves the other members that it's been in partnership with for a long time, there is no athletic director who is making that decision on his own.  It is ultimately being made by a board who is being directed and driven according to what the president wants.

“Therefore, if people like what's going on they ought to applaud the presidents.  If they don't like it they ought to criticize the presidents.  But the presidents seem to not be in the firing line at all.  I find that almost comical.  Because they yelled and screamed that college athletics was in trouble at the end of the 80's and they said we're taking over.  That's when the whole governing structure of the NCAA was reconfigured and the presidents now form the board, they have the ultimate control, they have the ultimate control over conferences, obviously the ultimate control over institutions.  If we're going to point a finger, they are the ones to point the fingers at."





Category: NCAAF

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:28 am

Not quite enough here

Tranghese sounds like a bitter old man.  But he is very clever and correct to point the finger at presidents.  

I have mixed emotions here.  On one side, Tranghese sounds like a dinosaur who can't adjust or evolve with the rest of the world, and spends a lot of time wishing for the past.  On the other hand, he almost exposes the entire BCS framework for what it really is: a money-laundering operation that transfers money from the athletic and general funds of schools into the hands of presidents, trustees, and their families.  

Tranghese needs to go a step further and tell us where the money is going.  He knows exactly what is going on, but stops short of really giving any information that would help change the situation that causes him such obvious distress.  If Tranghese wants to see some change, he has to come totally clean.  Pointing the media in the right direction isn't enough.  He needs to take that extra step and serve up a few presidents on a proverbial silver platter, making it so easy that the media can't help but look in the right places.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:52 am

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Van111, am I reading you right? You seem to be saying that Navy has the right to opt out of its entry into the Big East until point certain leading up to the 2015 season. If so, then fascinating...I'm a Wolverines fan, so this interests me for a very specific reason. I happen to think that Notre Dame may well have to abandon its football independence sooner than later. If so, then I believe that the Big Ten may be prepared with the winning offer: A 14-team conference, including the Irish and the Middies. It would allow the preservation of all of NDs many rivalries and the addition of two programs with national followings, one of which is in the East and the other of which has broad appeal among the East's many ethnic Catholics, would solidify the conference's mindshare. I strongly believe, as well, that it would be agreed as part of the move that no further expansion would be undertaken.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:34 am

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

cheese31pitt, it wasn't only Tranghese who fooled himself with regard to the alliance with Notre Dame. (Assuming that he wasn't just ordered to effect it by the Presidents.) It was obvious from the get-go that the Big East was whistling past the graveyard with the brave face that it put on regarding the possibility of Irish football becoming Big East football. Never going to happen. If it's ever necessary for them to cuddle up, they'll do it in the Big Ten. It's the only arrangement that would accomodate its many rivalries. Tradition may be a fungible thing at most other schools, but it matters a great deal to the Irish, as it does in Big Ten country.

Even in the case of Nebraska, it was almost certainly the deliberate abandonment of the rivalry with Oklahoma by the Sooners that set the Huskers disaffection in motion. Just as it was its long-time membership, recently ended against their wishes, in the AAU that sealed the deal with the Big 10. Commonalities abound, and the communities expend considerable effort reinforcing these. To them, its the relationships that matter, not just the football.

Its a human thing.

Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: February 27, 2012 9:49 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Tranghese is a Clown.He knew several years ago,in fact was in the meeting at NC State when Les Robinson was AD there.He knew what THE ATLANTIC CHOKE CONFERENCE,or ACC was going to do back then.He set on his Hands.I wish I could of threw SiriusXM yesterday because i heard his Bull-$$$$.He was a sleep at the switch,just like his Boy Marinatto was.The apple doesn't fall to far from the TREE.Both of Them were,and are Clowns.

Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:04 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Boise will never be allowed in a major conference. The reasons: Ugly uniforms, small fan base, ugly field, and they once had a guy named Dinwiddie. Those are reasons enough.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 27, 2012 4:44 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

There should be a rule that says you can only be in one conference for all of your sports.  My alma mater is in 3 different conferences.  Future Big East for football, WAC for basketball, Pac 12 for wrestling...You should have to be all in one conference.  The Broncos are still waiting for a big conference like the Big 12 or Pac 12 to quit hiding from them!  They always complain that Boise State has a cake conference schedule...hey big conferences, put up or shut up!  Give them the invite or quit crying!

Since: Jan 19, 2010
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:14 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Agreed, Notre Dame is the real trouble with what has happened in the Big East. When Miami, BC, and VT left, quietly behind the scene's ND was talking to any conference they could for the rest of their sports as a back up, while they had one of the chair seats to the Big east Commissioner telling them what the Big East should do. Once the raid was over to get UL, Cincy and USF, the BE did nothing, why because we also added Marquette and DePaul. Had they BE only added two Football members instead of these last 2, we are probably not having this conversation. In a nutshell, ND was quietly able to keep control enough from the full members as they disn't have a majority. 8 BB schools, 8 FB, and as we all saw, virtually impossible to add another FB program until SU and Pitt anounced they were leaving to the ACC, and even then nothing but talk, and finally WV departure that spurred activity for survival, and threats from the commissioner for a 27 month lock on the schools mentioned. All the while, ND was shopping around to as many as 4 conferences for a home for their other sports.

Another reason the BE fell apart, ND was one of the parties that voted down a 1.1 Billion dollar TV deal. Why in heller would ND be a voting member for a TV contract primarily based on FB? Just look at the 6 programs that left, add ND to the mix, and you have a very stable FB program and it may have been ACC teams joining the BE instead of the other way around.

Tranghese is right about one thing, conferences aren't done yet. the BE will not only have 2 current teams looking to leave, they will not get all of the teams they recently signed. Boise is way smart. By not committing until 2015, like Navy, they can wait it out and string along the BE conference and also test the waters for the new playoff system for a NC. If conference expansion to 16 team leagues does happen, ND will join one of 4 conferences (B1G, ACC, Big12, or Pac 12) and that my friends will be the end of the Big East as we know it, if it survives at all. Thier are 4 teams that would bolt in the first offer, UConn and Rutgers to ACC, UL and Cincy to Big 12. USF is the odd man out that nobody wants.

Since: Aug 30, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:40 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Mr. Tranghese, you like to point fingers at a lot of people for this ridiculous realignment crap so I hope one of those fingers is pointing at you.  Your inability to run the BE has led downfall of that conference.


Cody, I know it hurts that UL is stuck in CUSA 2.0 but as usual, your jealousy has led you to muddle the facts - Oliver Luck is on record saying he doesn't want to be the new Big 12 commish.  However, he said he wouldn't mind being on the selection board for the next round of realignment.  Wouldn't that be a hoot if Luck voted against UL joining the Big 12?  Hilarious!  For the record, Jurich isn't getting the position, either.

Since: Apr 12, 2008
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:51 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

Buford, great points.  If ND was a full time all sports member, I doubt the first defection of Miami, BC, and V-tech ever occurs.  Actually, V-tech may have never been invited because Penn State would have stumbled over themselves to get invited.  It was ALL about ND.  I respect Tranghese but he sold them out when he let ND dictate the arrangement.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:35 pm

Tranghese blasts presidents, league realignment

In this article, I really find it hard to understand Mike Tranghese's rationale.  First, He was the BIG EAST Conference Commissioner when that conference was the FIRST Major Conference to go to 16 BASKETBALL Teams.   Secondly, Tranghese was the BIG EAST Conference Commissioner when NOTRE DAME was admitted to the conference as a part-time member.   What if Tranghese will admit it now or not, NOTRE DAME has been the achilles heel for stability in the BIG EAST Conference from the standpoint of being a football independent. If NOTRE DAME had become a full-time participant in the BIG EAST in ALL-SPORTS, I think you would be a very stable and strong league.  As we all know, hindsight is 20/20, but if Mike Tranghese is any leader at all, he will tell you, the current NOTRE DAME equation in the BIG EAST has hurt this league over the past 10 years in compatibility.  Many of the good schools who have left or now leaving the BE, just got tired of participating in a hodgepodge mess with three distinct areas: Basketball, Football, NOTRE DAME, rather than ONE ALL-SPORTS BE Conference.  With this being said, I kind of think Mike Tranghese is talking out of both sides of his mouth on these issues. When you lose the likes of MIAMI, VIRGINIA TECH, BOSTON COLLEGE, WEST VIRGINIA, PITTSBURGH, SYRACUSE there has to be real problems in this league for a long time.  These Six schools are from the original Eight schools that started BIG EAST FOOTBALL.  So, don't tell me there isn't a problem with NOTRE DAME in the football side of this equation.  Hey, I have nothing aganist Notre Dame at all, but I sure do understand why the football schools are not happy.

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