Hello, college basketball fans!
I keep hearing that the Big East is falling apart and that the non-football schools are responsible for standing in the way of Big East progress.
I say they got it backwards. The Big East is in the mess now not because they catered to basketball, they are because they catered to football.
If the Big East thought of basketball over football, dead weight basketball programs like Rutgers, South Florida, and TCU would have never been invited to the Big East as full members. If the Big East expansion plans rumored take place, the Big East will be hurt more than it will be helped.
Most of the people who disagree with what I just said think college football is far more profitable than college basketball. In general, that is true. But for several Big East football schools, basketball is more profitable.
Consider this report on college football and basketball profits:
The University of Louisville for the year made the largest profit of any college basketball program in the U.S. during the 2009-2010 season. They made $16.8 million in profit from basketball and $3.3 million in football. If you compare revenues, it's $25.8 million for hoops and $15.5 million for the gridiron.
Who do you think is driving the athletic department at Louisville?
The two Big East schools that are leaving (TCU doesn't count because they were never a member) also gained more profit from basketball than football (both schools brought in more football revenue but that is negated by the much higher costs of football).
Syracuse: Basketball: $10.2 million, Football: $3.8 million
Pittsburgh: Basketball: $7 million, Football: $5 million
I am very shocked that UConn basketball only netted $804,242 in basketball profits. But that was $804,242 more than their football team brought in. Yes, Connecticut football made no money at all, they broke even.
Even Rutgers and their pathetic basketball program made more profit from basketball than football (they lost money in football). Cincinnati made slightly more profit in football.
The only two Big East football schools that significantly made more profits in football are West Virginia and South Florida, who also is pathetic in college basketball.
Sure, if you are Alabama or Penn State, football is the big seller. But for even many of the Big East schools that sponsor football, basketball is the predominant sport.
Tell me, are Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt and UConn more basketball schools or football schools? I don't even know who is the football coach at Syracuse but almost everyone who even remotely follows basketball knows Jim Boeheim. Connecticut won the Big East in football and their coach promptly left for Maryland.
So tell me again why Syracuse and Pittsburgh decided to leave the Big East for the ACC? If football was the determining factor, wouldn't the Orange and Panthers be excited about TCU (two consecutive BCS appearances and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin) coming to the Big East?
Now granted Jim Boeheim is biased, but when discussing the move to the ACC, he said the following:
"We've played St. John's for the 50 years I've been at Syracuse, and Georgetown for 40, so yeah, there's some nostalgia there," Boeheim said. "There's some heartbreak, no question about it. But it is what it is. Things do change. The Big East changed over the years. It's not that frustrating now because we have a 17-team basketball conference. If we had a nice, 10-team league, I'd be more upset. But we don't have that anymore. We have Marquette, DePaul, TCU coming in and who knows who else coming in."
If you're looking for more incite from Boeheim click here.
And right now the best place for Syracuse with the instability—remember, the Big East is now 17 schools and looking to go to 20—the best place for Syracuse was the ACC at this time."
You want to convince me it was basketball first schools like St. John's and Georgetown that drove Syracuse out of the Big East? He mentioned a 17-team league in both articles and singled out "TCU coming in." He still wants to play St. John's and Georgetown. I don't hear him wanting to play TCU or South Florida or Rutgers.
The Big East last season had 16 teams. Big East teams only played three rivals twice. If the move to 17 teams happened, it would be likely that the Big East teams would have only played two rivals twice.
If they had gone to 20 teams, no Big East teams would have played twice and unless they went to 19 teams, some Big East teams might not play at all as I had predicted.
So essentially, the Big East asked Syracuse and Pitt to give up one rivalry game a year (conceivably one between each other or vs. UConn) to play a game with TCU (and every other year have to travel down there in the middle of winter).
In addition, most of you football fans might not be too familiar with college basketball. In college football, if you beat six FBS schools, you are bowl eligible. In college basketball, wins and losses aren't everything. Entrance into the NCAA Tournament is not based entirely on wins and losses, but on the level of competition.
The more TCU's and South Florida's you play, the lower your chances of making the NCAA Tournament are (even if you win more games). Last year, Alabama went 12-4 in the SEC but were denied an NCAA bid because the SEC outside of Kentucky and Florida is awful.
I know this is strictly conjecture but this is my theory: If the Big East had never invited TCU to come to the Big East, Syracuse and Pittsburgh never would have left and no one would be talking about the Big East's demise.
The latest Big East rumors have Central Florida, SMU, and Houston coming to the Big East in all sports. These three schools have combined for three NCAA bids since 2000. SMU's last NCAA appearance? 1993.
None of the three schools are even close to Connecticut. If the Big East adds these schools, that will be four long distance trips for UConn (and all of the other Northeast schools) in every two-year span.
I heard some people suggest travel partners. If the Big East didn't introduce travel partners when they brought in DePaul, Marquette and South Florida, what makes you think they will now?
Tell me again why adding these three schools is going to convince UConn, a basketball school, to not go to the ACC if offered? I am convinced that as soon as the SEC makes up its mind as to a 14th member, the ACC will take UConn.
Rick Pitino basically begged the Big East to take Temple. Temple is in the Northeast and within driving distance of most of the Northeast Big East schools and is a far better basketball school than any other Big East candidate with the possible exception of Memphis (who also is getting no love).
The Big East apparently would rather have SMU in basketball than Temple. Remember this isn't the first time the Big East spit on Temple and took a geographically distant, basketball challenged school instead.
Rumor is that Villanova blocked Temple from getting in the Big East. Let me ask you Villanova, how is adding Rutgers, South Florida, TCU, SMU and Houston going to help your basketball program (and you don't even sponsor FBS football)?
Would you rather fly 2,000 miles to SMU for a basketball game or drive 30 minutes to Temple? Who do you think Villanova fans would rather see the Wildcats play at the Wells Fargo Center, Temple or SMU? You can say you will play Temple anyway but if I were Temple I would cancel that series and talk the other big five schools into doing the same.
You want to say the basketball schools are in charge of the Big East? If the basketball schools were in charge, TCU, South Florida, and Rutgers would have never been invited to Big East basketball. And I believe Pitt and Syracuse would have stayed, and UConn wouldn't be begging to leave.
You think Big East basketball was great last year when they had 11 bids? Back in 1991, the Big East had seven NCAA bids (Syracuse, Villanova, St. John's, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, and Georgetown) out of nine teams. Of course in 1985 three of the four Final Four teams were in the Big East.
Big East basketball is going down the tubes and if UConn walks away (which I hope they do), the Big East will be a mid-major conference in basketball. Don't blame Pitt and Syracuse for turning their back on Big East basketball. The Big East turned their back on Big East basketball.
Here's the Big East logic: Who needs to see UConn and Syracuse play in basketball when you can see SMU and South Florida play in football!
Hey Big East, if you're gonna go through with these BS invites, do me a favor and change your name. If you have schools west of the Mississippi River, you have no right to call yourselves the Big "East."