Tag:Villanova
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 5:34 pm
 

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big East has been waiting for Villanova to make a decision on whether or not it would be joining the conference as its tenth football member, and it looks like the conference will need to wait a few more months. Villanova's Board of Trustees have spent the last couple of days discussing the subject, and though the school was expected to make its announcement on Tuesday, it released a statement on Monday morning saying that no such decision will be coming.

Though the delay seems to be more the Big East's doing than Villanova's.

"Villanova recently learned that the Big East Conference needs more time to do its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership," the university said in a statement. "Villanova is now working with the Big East to provide whatever additional information we can. It is the university’s desire that in the near future its Board of Trustees will proceed with the vote as planned."

Considering that the statement says the Big East needs more time, and that the school wants to proceed with its vote as planned, I'm inclined to believe that means Villanova wants to make the jump, and the Big East may be having some second thoughts. Again, that's just pure speculation on my part from an attempt to read between the lines.

While the schools concern over making the jump from the FCS to the FBS level is no doubt financial, the Big East is likely concerned with where Villanova would play its home games. At the moment the leader in the clubhouse for Villanova home games would be PPL Park in Chester, but the stadium as presently constructed holds only 18,000 fans. That would make PPL Park the smallest stadium in the Big East by far, with only Idaho and FIU having smaller stadiums in the FBS.

Of course, PPL Park does not have to be a long-term solution. It is possible that Villanova could move into Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, after the 2017 season, when Temple's lease expires.

Odds are that, even with concerns, the Big East will try to do everything it can to make this Villanova move work. While the conference wants to add a tenth member to the conference, it would also prefer not to add another school to a basketball conference that will already claim 17 teams once TCU makes the move next year.

Though if the conference decides Villanova is not a viable option, or Villanova ultimately decides against the move, that would mean Central Florida, Houston and Memphis would once again be in play.

[UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Big East commissioner John Marinatto has just released a statement on the matter. It is reprinted in full below.]

“The Big East Conference and Villanova University have worked closely with each other over the past several months regarding potential football membership. We will continue with our due diligence process and work with Villanova to continue to share relevant information and materials. The Big East Conference obviously very much values its long-standing relationship with Villanova and we are committed to continuing to work with them on this matter in an open and forthright manner. Until there is additional information to report, the conference plans no further comment.”

Posted on: March 7, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Could Pitt get in Villanova's way?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Last week there was a report that Villanova was close to coming to a decision and making the jump from the FCS level to join the Big East. The Big East added TCU to the conference with play beginning in 2012, and as the conference looks for a tenth member, Villanova does make sense based on their success at the FCS level. Add in the fact that the school is already a member of the Big East's basketball conference, and it becomes even more feasible.

Though according to one report, though it may make sense for both Villanova and the Big East to become partners, there's another school in the conference that may not be as excited by the idea.
According to sources close to the situation, administrators at the University of Pittsburgh are unhappy with the idea of having such a small venue in the conference, and would prefer that Villanova plays it’s home games at a venue that can hold a minimum of 35,000 fans (to match Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium).
Pittsburgh was also reportedly upset that Villanova has pushed the ultimate decision on this issue back until April, despite the fact that large the capital investment in moving from FCS to FBS football requires more due-diligence than a move from one FBS conference to another.
The tiny venue Pitt seems worried about would be PPL Park, which is where Villanova would prefer to play its games. As presently constructed, the stadium only seats 18,500. Only two schools in the FBS have stadium's with a smaller capacity than that: Idaho and FIU. It would also be the lowest capacity in the Big East by far.

Still, I'm not sure Pitt's real problem with Villanova is stadium size. I wonder if Pitt's hesitation has more to do with a third BCS conference school suddenly showing up in the state of Pennsylvania, as Pitt already has to compete with Penn State for recruits in the state.

Besides, it's not as though Villanova doesn't have options. While the school isn't likely to spend money constructing a new stadium, there are other places it can play. First of all, PPL Park was built with expansion in mind, and it's possible that the place could seat around 30,000. Then there's Franklin Field, which seats over 50,000, but that would be a problem because it's on another campus: Pennsylvania. Scheduling could prove to be quite a headache with both the Quakers and Wildcats sharing the stadium.

A natural move would be to have Villanova play at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The problem there is that Temple holds the lease on the stadium until 2017, and there's no way that three football teams can call the place home at once. Though it is possible that Villanova could play in a temporary home until 2017 when the lease expires, and then move into Lincoln Financial Field.

Bottom line, if Villanova wants to join the Big East, then Villanova is going to join the Big East. The only thing that can keep Villanova from making the move is Villanova itself.
Posted on: March 3, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Over the last year or so, the Big East has been courting I-AA football power (and current Big East basketball power) Villanova to bump its program to I-A and strengthen the Big East's numbers from within. With TCU set to join the conference in 2012, a Villanova addition would push the conference up to 10 football teams. 10 is good. It's certainly better than eight.

Now, we've noted before that Big East commissioner John Marinatto wasn't going to "sit around and wait" for Villanova to make a decision on moving up a subdivision or not, but sometime between late January and now, Marinatto decided to do precisely that, because as the Sporting News reports, Villanova is coming close to accepting the Big East's offer and joining the big boys in football:

A Big East source told Sporting News that Villanova is the “clear leader” in the conference’s goal of expanding to 10 teams, but that the university still is trying to complete a revenue plan of $25-30 million in startup costs.

Villanova announced it would have a decision by April, but the process could be moving along faster than expected. VUhoops.com reported last week that members of the athletic administration held a meeting for “major boosters” at the Syracuse basketball game.

This would probably be a solid move for Villanova; not every school that has jumped to I-A has met immediate success, but 'Nova would have the built-in luxury of money coming in from the Big East's BCS deal, the Big East's TV deal, and healthy visiting ticket sales. Again, it's still up to the Wildcats to get good at football and keep their fans interested for the long haul, but that's a definite possibility, and one that could bring a significant payoff to Villanova's athletic department.

The fundraising comes first, though, and every week that passes without Villanova having the cash for those daunting startup costs is another week that Marinatto has to "sit around and wait" and wonder whether the fanbase is really there for Villanova. The Big East is hardly a titan of fan support, as BCS conferences go, but if Villanova and its fans can't afford the move up, they can't afford it, and Marinatto will have to look elsewhere for his expansion.

Still, Villanova wouldn't be trying to raise the funds if it didn't think it had a good chance to accomplish the task, and we could see a 10-team Big East in 2012. If so, the question facing the conference changes to a no-less-important, but happier one: nine-game round robin conference schedule, right? Don't let college football down on that front, Mr. Marinatto.

Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Why FBS, 'Nova? So your backup QB can go viral

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Villanova has a decision to make: accept the Big East's offer to upgrade their 2009 national championship FCS program and become the league's 11th football member, or remain in the conference in all sports outside of football and continue to compete for Colonial Athletic Association titles in the division formerly known as I-AA. So what better way to educate the 'Nova-affiliated masses on the pros and cons of that decision than a flash-video presentation on YouTube?
 


Yes, it's on the dry side, but it's also interesting -- from our usual rabid football fan perspective -- to see an issue usually simplified to "well, do you want to really play college football, or don't you?" laid out in such a calm, nuts-and-bolts fashion. (If you don't have seven minutes to spend, I'll sum up: FBS football would offer 'Nova a lot of notoriety. But it would also cost the school lot of money, especially in terms of facilities 'Nova would have to build almost from scratch.)

Of course, what the video above doesn't mention is the many unforeseen, intangible benefits to joining FBS. Take fellow Big East member UConn, for instance; if the Huskies were still fooling around in the FCS, would anyone have noticed this video (which has been plastered all over the Internet today) of third-string quarterback Johnny McEntee performing what's essentially the football version of the McDonald's Bird-vs.-Jordan H.O.R.S.E. contest?



Of course not. It's definitely something else to think about, Villanova decision-makers.

HT on 'Nova video: The Collision Course .

Posted on: January 27, 2011 1:11 pm
 

USF denies UCF accusations, kinda sorta

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

An Orlando Sentinel column published yesterday included a statement from a UCF spokesperson claiming that the Knights were "hearing" that fellow in-state up-and-comer USF was moving to block UCF's potential invitation from the Big East. While there would obviously be a lot of incentives for the Bulls to maneuver to keep their Orlando neighbors off of the BCS gravy train (the brutal Florida recruiting battles foremost among them), the statement made clear that UCF wouldn't be real thrilled with their former annual rivals should their politicking keep them from a move to the college football's big(ger) leagues.

But according to a USF statement issued last night to AOL Fanhouse , USF president Judy Genshaft isn't concerned with UCF any more than she is any school who the Big East might be considering. They say:
"Judy has always been clear that she doesn't discuss Big East board votes in advance and in public -- and the Big East insists that its commissioner (John Marinatto) is the only spokesperson," USF vice president of communications Michael Hoad wrote in an e-mail to FanHouse. "There's no reason for her to announce support or opposition to any school in advance of meetings.

"Bottom line: USF itself has no 'position' on Big East expansion. When there's a decision, she'll vote just like everyone else. However, she is clear that she'll vote for the best interests of the Big East, not for any university."
In other words: if UCF is the best candidate for the Big East, USF will support it. If not, they won't. The interests of the Big East will outweigh the interests of the Bulls.

Of course, USF and Genshaft will be free to make that distinction themselves, free to determine exactly how those interests are best served. If they feel that Northwest Washington State is a better option for Big East expansion (or, more to the point, Villanova or Memphis or some similar school) than UCF, there won't be anything stopping them.

So the statement doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. But it is a sign, nonetheless, that USF is taking the political talk seriously ... and that they won't appreciate being portrayed as the villains if the Big East ultimately decides to look someplace other than UCF.

Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 4:02 pm
 

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier today I posted about Big East commissioner John Marinatto saying that the conference was not going to sit around and wait for a decision from Villanova before making a possible move on conference expansion. Were the Big East decide to not make Villanova its tenth football member, the odds on favorite to receive a Big East bid would be UCF. Though there may be a problem with adding UCF, as there are some rumors that USF isn't all that enthused about sharing a piece of the pie with another school inside the state of Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote a column on Wednesday discussing the rumors.
Hopefully, all of the whispers you hear about the University of South Florida trying to block UCF from gaining an invitation to the Big East are emanating from message boards and not meeting rooms.
But I'm starting to wonder.
Really wonder.
"We have been hearing this, too," UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said in an e-mailed response to the Sentinel about USF obstructing UCF's potential path into the Big East. "We hope it's not true, because our joining the Big East would clearly be a win-win for both universities."
Here's all you need to know about Heston's response: If he is issuing a public statement of any kind on the issue, then UCF President John Hitt is clearly concerned that the Bulls may be lobbying against UCF joining them in the prestigious and profitable Big East. Heston would not issue a statement of any kind unless Hitt put his stamp of approval on it.
Then there is USF's suspicious silence on this issue. When I tried to contact USF President Judy Genshaft last week and early this week to ask her feelings about the Big East potentially inviting UCF, the university's publicity department said she would have no comment on the issue. "All Big East expansion inquiries need to be directed to Big East Commissioner John Marinatto," a school publicist said in an e-mail. "He is the sole spokesperson on this issue."
Bianchi goes on to say that the silence from USF on the matter is somewhat damning, especially in light of the fact that other Big East coaches like Louisville's Rick Pitino and South Florida's own Skip Holtz have commented publicly on the idea of UCF joining the Big East.

Now, again, nobody knows for sure that South Florida is looking to keep Central Florida out of the Big East, but given the history and silence, it doesn't seem like it's that crazy of a theory. South Florida has enjoyed the money that comes with playing in a Big East conference, and if it's going to have to start sharing that money with two new schools, I can see why it wouldn't want to share the dough with an in-state rival. Recruiting in the state of Florida is hard enough as it is, given the other programs in the state and the fact that schools all across the country come to raid the plethora of football talent the state produces.

Giving another school in the state BCS resources would only make things tougher on USF.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Big East won't wait on Villanova

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With TCU leaving the Mountain West for the Big East in 2012, it gives the Big East conference an uneven number of teams in its football conference. Which is manageable, but it's no secret that having an even number of teams makes scheduling easier and that the Big East is looking to add a tenth member. One of the favorites has been Villanova, which is already a member of the Big East in basketball, and has undertaken a study to see if the football program is ready to move up to the FBS level.

The study won't be concluded until April, but if Villanova thinks that the Big East is going to sit around and wait on Nova's decision before it makes a move, then Villanova would be wrong. At least, that's what commissioner John Marinatto told ESPN.

"We're not waiting for Villanova," Marinatto said. "It's their institutional decision to make, and they have a process set up to make it. They've got to determine what's in their best interest, and we've got to determine what's in our best interest.

"If the right situation developed in between, we would move on it. That's a very real possibility. We're not going to make a decision or not make a decision based on Villanova's study."

Which is the right approach for the Big East to take. Personally, I think the Big East would be better looking elsewhere. The conference's reputation in football has already taken its fair share of shots from critics, as among the BCS conferences, its easy to see that the Big East is the weak link. The conference didn't have a single team finish the season ranked in either poll. So I'm not sure that adding another team to the league that hasn't even played on an FBS level would be best for the level of play.

In my opinion, UCF or East Carolina would be better choices. Neither is a college football powerhouse, but both of those programs are a lot further along than Villanova will be for a few seasons. Of course, it's not just quality of team that matters in college football, and Villanova is more attractive than either UCF or ECU due to the fact it's located in Philadelphia. Were the Big East to look towards starting its own network like the Big Ten or Pac-12, that Philadelphia market would come in handy.
Posted on: December 17, 2010 7:03 pm
 

UMass could announce move to MAC in January

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this month we wrote about UMass considering making the jump from the FCS to the FBS -- for what it's worth, I hate calling them that, they'll always be Division I and Division II to me -- and, in doing so, becoming a member of the MAC conference.  Well, it seems that UMass is moving along a lot quicker in their plans than Villanova is.

Word out of Boston is that UMass could announce its intentions to make the jump and join the MAC as early as next month.  

“We’re not going to comment on anything regarding that,’’ said UMass athletic director John McCutcheon told The Boston Globe. “But our discussions involve football only and we are still talking about making a decision sooner rather than later.’’

Of course, the move wouldn't be official until next September when the moratorium on keeping FCS teams from jumping to the FBS -- AARGH -- come to an end.  If that is what happens, then UMass will have to go through a two-year transition period before officially joining the MAC in 2013.  Which would then make the MAC the first 14-team conference in college football, that is unless Temple bolts for the Big East before then.

UMass, much like Temple, will only join the MAC in football, as both schools would prefer to stay in the more respected Atlantic 10 for basketball.
Category: NCAAF
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com