Tag:Cincinnati
Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Officials at Houston and SMU have both been contacted by Big East commissioner John Marinatto and have been told the league wants to discuss with them further about joining the league, sources told CBSSports.com.

The Houston Chronicle reported Monday night that Houston had been extended an invitation. However, league sources said no official invitations have been extended to any teams. The Big East also released a statement Saturday that no invitations have been extended.

On Tuesday afternoon, Marinatto held a media teleconference, but would not identify specific schools but did admit he's had preliminary discussions with several schools.

Those schools are Boise State, Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston and SMU, sources said.

Marinatto said he's confident the Big East will remain an automatic qualifying BCS conference when the new cycle begins in 2014 and didn't provide a timetable on adding teams to replace TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

"Stay tuned," he said. "We're not rushing ourselves to meet anyone's deadline. The sooner, the better."

Marinatto reiterated that the Big East would not allow Pittsburgh or Syracuse to leave the league early and must honor the 27-month exit agreement. Pitt and Syracuse will remain in the Big East through June 30, 2014, meaning the Big East could have a 14-team football league in 2013 if necessary, Marinatto said.

A college football industry source indicated the fact the ACC has to wait until then is not a big deal to the league. "It just gives the ACC more time to get organized and get their schedules set," the source said.

On Monday night, the Big East’s presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to increase the league’s exit fee to $10 million, but the increased fee is contingent on either Navy or Air Force joining the league as football only members, sources told CBSSports.com.

Marinatto confirmed the increase in the exit fee, but would not identify the school that would trigger the increased exit fee.

The increased exit fees from $5 million to $10 million for the football schools were something Navy and Air Force wanted before committing to the Big East.

"I don't think anyone will be blindsided or feel bushwhacked when this process is complete," Marinatto said.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are interested to joining the Big East because of the league's automatic qualifying BCS status, but wanted a bigger financial commitment from the remaining members (Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia).

Sources said Houston and SMU – along with UCF – are prepared to accept an invitation to join the Big East as all sports members once an official invitation is extended.

UCF met with Marinatto and other Big East representatives in Cincinnati on Friday. Boise State officials spoke via telephone with the Big East on Thursday.

Marinatto is in the process of scheduling a meeting with Houston and SMU officials in the coming days in New York, sources said.

The Big East wants to get to 12 football teams with the addition of Navy, Air Force and Boise State as football-only members and Houston, SMU and UCF as all-sports members.

However, the Big East still could lose a school if Missouri leaves for the SEC. The New York Times reported Monday night that Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 to the SEC is “inevitable and imminent.” If so, the Big 12 could target either Louisville or West Virginia or even add both teams. BYU also remains an expansion candidate for the Big 12.

Marinatto said the Big East would move quickly in expanding and "is not going to pause" and wait on "the Missouri situation."

Marinatto also said he has not been contacted by any other conferences interested in any Big East schools since TCU left for the Big 12. When the league gets to 12 schools, Marinatto said it's a possibility the Big East could hold its football championship game in New York, similar to the Big East basketball tournament.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Officials from what’s left of the Big East’s dwindling football membership had another conference call on Tuesday morning and there remains no specific timetable on adding UCF, but “appears an invitation is forthcoming” for the Knights, the league’s No. 1 target.

The presidents, chancellors and athletic directors continued to discuss potential expansion candidates. Among those mentioned were UCF, Air Force, Navy, Temple, Houston, SMU and Boise State, a league source told CBSSports.com.

While Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Monday the league would consider a model with 12 football members, part of Tuesday’s call was discussing the possibility of splitting the football and basketball conference into divisions, once the football side is replenished.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are being considered as football members only, while UCF, Temple, Houston and SMU are at the top of the list as all-sports members so it’s unknown right now how large the basketball membership could grow.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported one proposed alignment discussed at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Navy in an East Division with West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, Air Force, SMU and Houston in a West Division.

However, there remains the very real possibility Louisville and West Virginia may not be in the league and bound for the Big 12 if Missouri leaves for the SEC or the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.

What make Temple, SMU and Houston attractive to the Big East, one source said, is their respective television markets. Philadelphia (Temple) is the nation’s No. 4 market, Dallas (SMU) is No. 5 and Houston is No. 10.

Beyond Navy, Air Force and UCF, a league source said “no one team is definitely next” as an expansion candidate.

There also appears to be conflicting opinions on pursuing Boise State. Some league members support adding Boise State because of the Broncos’ recent success, which would help the league with its future BCS status. However, others believe Boise State, located nearly 700 miles west of Air Force and nearly 2,200 miles from Tampa/USF, is simply too far to consider.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement Monday that the Broncos “are looking forward to their inaugural season” in the Mountain West Conference and he “has great confidence in the future direction of the Mountain West.”

“While we are certainly flattered to be mentioned in connection with other conferences and we hold those leagues in high regard, our current focus is on continuing to build the outstanding athletic programs that have helped make Boise State a popular and compelling national brand," Kustra said.

“The landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We are confident that Boise State will be well positioned for future success, and we will evaluate our status with the best interests of the entire university in mind. Boise State’s athletic achievements, academic and research successes, popularity, and vision for future growth make the university an extremely valuable conference partner.”

A league source also told CBSSports.com that Army is no longer being considered as a candidate by the Big East. “They’ve been honest with us and that they’re not interested because of the challenges they had previously in Conference USA,” the source said.

Army was in C-USA from 1998-2004. The Cadets were 9-41 in C-USA play and finished last in the league five of the seven seasons.

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Big East presidents and chancellors Monday authorized Big East commissioner John Marinatto “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

Now the question is: what schools will make up those 12?

With TCU gone before it even got here and Pittsburgh and Syracuse headed to the ACC in 2014 (and they hope even earlier than that), that leaves six football members – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia.

For now.

That number could reduce further if Missouri goes to the SEC. Louisville and West Virginia is considered the strongest candidates for the Big 12 now that BYU apparently is no longer as highly regarded by the Big 12.

Navy, Air Force and Army remain the prime targets of the Big East as football only members. However, with the news that the Big East is pursuing 12 football schools, if the league went to a nine-game league schedule, that actually might not be an attractive option for the academies having only three non-conference games.

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league remains an option.

Other Big East targets are Temple, of the Mid-American Conference, and a number of Conference USA schools headed by Central Florida and East Carolina.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday that Boise State was a possibility as a football-only member. Last month in a Big East presidents meeting, the Broncos were brought up as an expansion candidate, but the consensus was the school was too far away and there were concerns with their recent NCAA issues, a source said.

However, that was before TCU announced it received a Big 12 invitation, which the Horned Frogs will formally accept Monday night. Does that mean the Big East is warming to Boise State - or that desparate for members?

As far as any problems in having a 12-team football conference and a resulting basketball membership of up to 20 schools, a league source told me the size of the basketball membership is not a concern.

“You can have 50 teams in basketball (in the conference),” the source said. “It doesn't matter. That's why they have the NCAA tournament.”

The reality for the Big East is, other than continuing to pursue the academies, it must wait to see what happens with Missouri and the Big 12/SEC and the resulting dominos before proceeding further.

During Monday’s teleconference, the presidents were “still discussing appropriate figures” for increased withdrawal fees, an individual on the call told CBSSports.com.

The withdrawal fee is currently $5 million and a school must provide 27 months notice.

Last month Marinatto told CBSSports.com that the league will not allow Syracuse and Pitt to leave before their 27-month withdrawal requirement expires, keeping them in Big East until June 30, 2014.

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say. This stuff is moving fast.”

Air Force has to decide whether to remain in a comfortable situation in the Mountain West or leave for an uncertain future in the Big East, once an automatic qualifying BCS league that may or may not still be an AQ BCS conference when the new BCS cycle begins before the 2014 season.

Even with the league holding a second conference call in four days among officials from representative from the remaining Big East schools, there wasn’t much accomplished said one frustrated individual on the call.

“Nothing accomplished,” he said.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:02 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Notre Dame's football independence now at risk

When news broke Thursday that TCU was joining the Big 12 Conference instead of the Big East, it was just another domino in the latest craze sweeping across America: Conference realignment!

Another piece that might be teetering: Notre Dame.

For the Big East, losing TCU is another sucker punch to the groin or -- as Illinois’ Jonathan Brown prefers -- a knee to the groin.

Sure technically the Big East never really had TCU since the Horned Frogs weren’t officially joining the league until July 1, 2012, but the loss of what could have been is even more devastating for the Big East.

In the matter of weeks, the Big East has lost Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC and now TCU to the Big 12. And if Missouri leaves for the SEC, sources have told CBSSports.com the Big 12 will likely add three more schools to get to 12 members. At the top of that list, sources said, is Louisville, along with a combination of BYU, West Virginia, Cincinnati or Tulane.

Losing Louisville and West Virginia or Cincinnati would likely be a fatal blow to the Big East's football BCS status. As damaging as these defections are to the Big East, it could have an even greater impact on the behemoth of college football.

Even before man invented fire, the Fighting Irish’s football program has been an independent. And Notre Dame plans on staying an independent until the galaxy explodes -- or until the Big East implodes -- whichever happens first.

So while the Big East’s pulse continues to weaken, Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference. The Fighting Irish have enjoyed the benefit of remaining a football independent, while their non-football sports competed in the Big East. Those days could be numbered.

"Certainly the factors that have contributed to the larger conference realignment continue to exist," Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick told the Associated Press on Wednesday, a day before the news about TCU leaving to the Big 12. "And we’re doing the same thing we’ve done throughout, monitoring them closely, and hoping that the Big East stays a vibrant and successful partner for us."

But if there’s no Big East, then Notre Dame becomes the Holy Grail of college football. The Big 12, the Big Ten, the ACC and the SEC would add the Fighting Irish yesterday. Heck, even the Pac-12’s Larry Scott would find a way to bring the Irish on board if he could.

I’ve maintained that as long as Notre Dame has a conference home to put its non-football or Olympic sports (men’s basketball, women’s basketball, etc.) in it will never join a conference. But things are about to get interesting for Notre Dame.

If the Big East no longer exists, Notre Dame will have two options: Join the Big 12/Big Ten/ACC/SEC as a full member or stay independent in football and join one of those conferences with its non-football sports.

It will depend on how bad Notre Dame cherishes its football independence, because I’m sure one of those four conferences would prefer Notre Dame as a non-football member (and the guarantee of Notre Dame being on those future football schedules) to having Notre Dame in another league.

Before TCU and the Big 12’s announcement on Thursday, Swarbrick said Wednesday Notre Dame needed to continue to support the league.

"They’re [the Big East] working on additions," he said. "You got to wait until the whole picture is shaped to really have a feel for it, for what that option is like. Just continue to support them and be involved in their planning and hope they wind up in a great place.

"It's great to make plans. It’s whether the people you might be interested in or the circumstances will allow you to achieve those plans. But certainly the way the conference is thinking and what it’s trying to achieve are consistent with what I think it needs to do."

That was Swarbrick’s view Wednesday. That all changed Thursday with TCU headed to the Big 12 and there are likely more changes ahead. The question remains: will it be enough to force Notre Dame to give up its independence?


Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:33 am
 

Big East will be aggressive in expansion

Before the Big East’s meeting of the league’s presidents and athletic directors in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, someone noticed a familiar face in the hotel: Henry Kissinger.

“Someone joked, he should come up here,” Big East commissioner John Marinatto told CBSSports.com.

However, the former Secretary of State wasn’t needed on Tuesday night – three days after the sudden announcement that Pittsburgh and Syracuse would depart the Big East –when the presidents and athletic directors of the seven remaining Big East football-playing schools gathered.

The league “will be aggressive” in replacing Pittsburgh and Syracuse and the Big East will continue talks with Navy and Air Force as football-only members, an official in the meeting told CBSSports.com. On Tuesday, CBSSports.com reported that Big East was in the final stages of adding Navy as a football-only member before Pitt and Syracuse abruptly left for the ACC. Air Force also was expected to come on board.

Marinatto would not discuss specific expansion candidates, but said “there’s no urgency to expand. We don’t need to make a quick decision. We need to make the right decision.”

Another official that attended the meeting said the league’s members made a commitment to work and stay together.

“It went well,” the official said. “I think those schools that thought they were going somewhere now realize they have no where to go.”

There have been multiple reports than UConn and Rutgers are interested in the ACC. The Newark-Star Ledger also reported Rutgers “had discussions” with the Big Ten. West Virginia also hoped to go to the ACC or SEC, but both leagues indicated they were not interested in the Mountaineers, CBSSports.com reported.

“Part of the purpose of the meeting was getting everyone’s commitment,” Marinatto said. “At some point, you have to take people at their word.”

The presidents and athletic directors from Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, TCU and West Virginia attended the meeting. Marinatto said the membership discussed increasing the withdrawal fee from $5 million.

“I don’t know if there’s a price you can put on for breaking your word and lying,” Marinatto said. “That’s priceless. I don’t know high enough of a figure to charge for being disloyal or untruthful.”

Marinatto also reiterated that the league plans to make Pitt and Syracuse honor the league’s by-laws, which require 27-month notice to withdraw from the league.

“They are with us until June 30, 2014,” Marinatto said. “I think our membership is firm on that. There is no intention of granting [an early] release.”

Marinatto said he was “hurt and disappointed” about Pitt and Syracuse’s decision to leave the league, especially since both schools kept their dealings with the ACC secret until announcing their departure.

“I don’t want to use words that go over the edge,” Marinatto said. “Let’s just say I was very disappointed.”

Representatives from the Big East’s non-football member schools – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova – were not in attendance. The athletic directors of those schools, with exception of Notre Dame, held a one-hour conference call on Monday morning.

“Everyone was frustrated with the way it [Pitt and Syracuse] went down and the fact no one had any idea Syracuse and Pitt were bailing,” said an official from a Big East’s non-football member school.

That individual added that it appears some of the “basketball schools are willing to leave.”

Marinatto, however, said that he held a conference call with the presidents of the non-football members on Monday.

“I went around the horn and asked each one if they were in support of keeping the conference together,” Marinatto said. “Unanimously they said they support what the football schools want us to do.”

Following the football-member schools meeting, the Big East issued a statement:

“Our membership met this evening and we are committed as a conference to recruit top level BCS caliber institutions with strong athletic and academic histories and traditions. We have been approached by a number of such institutions and will pursue all of our options to make the Big East Conference stronger than it has ever been in both basketball and football.”

Rutgers president Richard McCormick would not comment to the Newark-Star Ledger Tuesday night, but said he felt “very good” about the league’s future. “Certainly from our standpoint.”

The president’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 2.


Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:18 am
 

Big East move should help keep Patterson at TCU

NEWPORT, R.I. – Besides all the obvious benefits of TCU’s move to the Big East – money, better BCS bowl access, money, more television exposure, money and money – another plus for the Horned Frogs is it could make it easier to keep Gary Patterson in Fort Worth.

Patterson has been mentioned as a candidate for multiple openings in past years, but has remained at TCU. He begins his 12th season with the Horned Frogs on Sept. 2 against Baylor. The Horned Frogs are playing their final season in the Mountain West before moving to the Big East next season.

“Gary has an opportunity to create his own shadow,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “You can go somewhere else and you’re following some one else’s footsteps.

“You go to Alabama, it’s still Bear Bryant. You go to Texas, it’s still Darrell Royal. You go to Arkansas, it’s Frank Broyles. It’s still Woody Hayes at Ohio [State] and Bo Schembechler at Michigan. Gary is that figure for us. He is our iconic figure.”

The Horned Frogs are in the process of $105 million expansion and renovation of Amon Carter Stadium. It’s scheduled to be completed for the 2012 season. That’s only one piece of the puzzle, Del Conte said.

“The one thing we have to continue to do is invest in facilities, invest in staff and invest in our program,” Del Conte said. “But Gary’s created that iconic figure for us. That’s something to be said.

“The grass isn’t always greener. That whole field is riddled with people who thought it was greener and they’re now skeletons littered in the weeds.”

The Horned Frogs first game in the renovated Carter Stadium in 2012 will be against Grambling on Sept. 8. TCU’s first season as a Big East member also will include home games against Oklahoma, Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and West Virginia and road games at Pittsburgh, UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse.

Even though the Horned Frogs aren’t members of the Big East yet, Del Conte has an opinion on the league's expansion.

“Whatever we do, you have to have significant value to the mosaic that is already there,” Del Conte said. “If not, keep the league at what it’s at. Nine, 10, 12 [teams] – I have no dog in that race. Our forefathers do. My opinion is you have to add significant value and preserve the Big East’s tradition and history in basketball and what Dave Gavitt created way back in the day.”

Del Conte said he’s confident a Big East team will be playing for a national championship – in football – in the very near future and referenced near misses by Cincinnati in 2009 (if Texas doesn’t edge Nebraska in the Big 12 title game) and West Virginia in 2007 (if the Mountaineers defeat Pitt in regular season finale).

“There will be a Big East team playing in the national championship game soon enough,” Del Conte said. “There will be.”

Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Presenting NCAA's most frequent cheaters club

As our series on college football’s cheaters continues today, I looked at the most frequent cheaters – at least in terms of major infractions – since SMU received the Death Penalty in 1987.

It’s a neck-and-neck race between Alabama and Texas Tech, with three major infractions each.

There are also a dozen teams – Cal, Colorado, Florida International, Florida State, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, USC and Washington – with two infractions each

Here are the remaining 42 teams with one major infraction each: Arkansas, Arkansas State, Arizona State, Auburn, Ball State, Baylor, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana Lafayette, Marshall, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, San Diego State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, UTEP, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington State and Wisconsin.

In all 56 of the 120 FBS programs have committed a major infraction in the past 25 years, including nearly two-thirds of the automatic qualifying BCS programs.

By the way, I loved a response on Twitter from @FGrimes1 – listed as Forrest Grimes – defending Texas Tech’s three major infractions. He wrote: “Most of Techs major infractions came around the same time, way to make Tech look like a contuinously dirty program a--hole."

For Mr. Grimes’ information, Tech’s violations were not at the same time – but spaced more than 10 years apart in 1987, 1998 and on Jan. 7, 2011 – during Grimes’ current semester as a journalism major at Tech

While our two-week series is looking at whether schools can win without cheating, I think it’s important to recognize the 23 AQ BCS programs that have not committed a major infraction since 1987 … so far.

ACC–Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest.
Big East–UConn, Louisville, South Florida, West Virginia.
Big Ten–Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue.
Big 12–Iowa State, Missouri.
Pac-12–Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA.
SEC–LSU, Vanderbilt


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com