Big East Basketball Coaches Discourage TCU From Joining Conference

Dave DeBlasioCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2010

Just where is the Big East on expansion today? The TCU rumors have died down and Marinatto's invite to Villanova has received a decidedly negative review among the fans. In the Dallas News there is nothing but old news on the topic.

Basketball coaches prefer the option of having Villanova move up in football, scared that they will lose the traditional advantages and clout basketball has always wielded in the Big East. If the basketball coaches had their way the conference would be only basketball with nine members playing round-robin schedules every season.

Yes, round-robin play was nice but it is no longer possible. A nine-team basketball conference would be a small mid-major. Furthermore, focusing on what the basketball coaches want will doom the Big East, especially since they don't even like the current 16-team Big East. Jim Boeheim of Syracuse said:

"My opinion is if all of the expansion happens, and they all go to 16 teams, I think they'll be very unhappy, and they'll lose a lot of what they have as a league, as the ACC has with their expansion as have we with our expansion."

Way to support your conference, Coach Boeheim. Have you spoken to Coach Marrone? The future doesn't look bright for a league where the basketball coach and the football coach at the same school can't come together on a viewpoint that puts conference stability ahead of personal preferences.

Coach Boeheim also commented on college basketball expansion in general and the pressure college administrators and conference commissioners are under to find every last dollar.

"I don't know if that's a great deal, to have more money because you just spend it. Ohio State makes hundreds of millions of dollars. What they make, they spend. If we make money, we spend it. To me, in a perfect world you'd have 10 teams and everyone would play everyone. You could have a lot of good conferences that way. It would be better for college athletics."

Having more money to spend is a bad thing just because you will spend it?

Sorry, coach, but your logic wouldn't pass a third grade intelligence test. It also simplifies the Big East's needs through a time tunnel. It's not 1979 anymore. Enriching conference revenue is the mission of every conference commissioner. Boeheim may view today's conference politics as money-grubbing, but Jim Delaney and the financially fat Big Ten would unanimously disagree.

The irony of the 16 Big East basketball conference coaches sitting around criticizing any Big East football-driven expansion can't be encouraging to TCU. By the way, TCU is interested in the Big East because of the BCS automatic qualifier status and basketball. Inviting TCU to join the Big East as an associate member will kill the deal. And TCU is waiting to make a decision because they don't have a read on what the Big East really wants. All the anti-expansion talk at the Big East basketball coaches' media day will not persuade TCU to join. 

The Big East basketball coaches are pulling for Villanova to step up to FBS status. They will graciously allow the football schools to increase to nine. Villanova moving up in football would be a positive step towards keeping the Big East relevant in football. Why not have both TCU and Villanova come on board for football and make TCU a full-fledged conference member? Even at 10 teams Big East football would be tied with the shrunken Big 12 as the smallest conferences in the BCS.

Villanova coach Jay Wright added his two cents to the discussion:

"I think Big East basketball is like SEC football," he said. "In the southern part of our country, football is king. It's part of the culture. In the northeast sector of our country, basketball is such a part of the culture. We all know that basketball is the passion at every one of these universities. It's not a knock on football. At Florida, they can have great basketball, but football is the passion. Basketball is the passion of all of these schools."

Coach Wright, you have it only half right. Yes, Big East basketball has the same clout, fan support, and national interest as SEC football. But why, Coach, can't the Big East football schools have the same kind of clout too? Resolving the current crisis requires coaches like Wright to formulate a new paradigm for conference success.

Why can't Wright and the other Big East basketball coaches apply the same unselfishness they preach to their teams to the welfare, stability and financial success of the entire Big East?