What happened to yesterday's report that the vote was a 4-4 split, and West Virginia was also known to be opposed?
Supposedly, Rutgers and Pittsburgh are the schools throwing up roadblocks, wanting to know if taking a team that plays in a 18,500-seat soccer stadium, PPL Park, even with the potential for expansion, really helps the league after a fall in which the Big East took major hits for not being BCS bowl-worthy with no ranked teams. Of course, it's a heck of a coincidence that one of the two schools voicing objections is closest to Villanova geographically and the other complainant shares a state with 'Nova.
Here's a radical notion: how about everyone in the Nova camp stop worrying about ulterior motives, step back, and realize the very concept of Villanova spending millions to upgrade from the FCS level, and then planning to play in a 18,500 seat soccer stadium with no concrete plans for expansion (to a meager 30,000 total, mind you) was not even remotely feasible in any capacity. The emperor had no clothes. If their membership would have improved the conference's revenue picture, then they would have received the go-ahead. Of all people, you would think a former CSTV executive in Rutgers A.D. Tim Pernetti would have a good handle on any revenue-related matters.
Yes, the Providence College cadre who currently and always have ruled the Big East with an iron fist deserve criticism for leading Villanova on to an extent, but the league's greater sin was in trying to drag unwilling football schools along for the ride from the start of this process. Villanova football in the Big East was an ill-fated gamble designed to stave off an inevitable conference split along football lines. Any person suggesting that the rumored "no" votes (provided they even occurred, and the story isn't just cover for Villanova being gun-shy about financial outlays) were motivated by pure self-interest as opposed to sheer incredulity that the outlandish proposal was ever seriously considered in the first place is seriously off his or her rocker. There was no near-term scenario were Villanova could be anywhere close to competitive in Big East play. Any suggestion to the contrary would represent the very height of arrogance.
Nova was hardly an innocent victim here in demanding that the other BE football schools accommodate their upgrade by lowering standards, or in issuing a steady and continuous stream of leaks to ratchet up public pressure on the league and their supposed conference allies. Villanova simply wanted to preserve their seat at the basketball table on the backs of the other conference football programs, which is completely unacceptable. Not a single leak over the past several months displayed one iota of sentiment that the Wildcats had any intention whatsoever of attempting to field a competitive football team.
For now, we wait.
However, several sources have said that the matter has to be finalized by May 31 so that Villanova can become a full-fledged member in football by the start of the 2014 season. The Wildcats would play the 2012 and 2013 seasons as an independent before it can receive full membership in football.
Let the weekend's events be a warning shot across the bow to the conference offices in Providence. The old rules no longer apply. TCU joining the Big East will finally give the football schools a nine-to-eight voting advantage, and then the gloves can finally come off. We have not seen anything yet compared to the sparks that are yet to fly. All of the years of inconsiderate, shortsighted decisions designed to marginalize Big East football at each and every opportunity could finally be repaid in one sweet coup de gras. The eight saboteurs would then be exposed in the event that far-off scenarios wherein the six "power" conferences possessing automatic bids to BCS bowls decided to secede from the NCAA ever came to fruition, forever locking out mid and low majors from the majority of television revenue. (This paragraph is not an endorsement of such a proposal, merely pointing out its role as a motivating fear in these discussions.)
If today's firestorm of finger pointing is any indication, there is even more of a reason now to split the baby. Why do we want to be in business with these wretched monsters in the first place? Better to invite Temple instead, who actually offer somewhat of a viable candidacy (large enrollment/alumni base, already FBS, not contractually barred from the Linc, etc...), and say sayonara to decades of backroom scheming and double-dealing. Count your blessings today Rutgers fans, because if these reports were accurate, Mr. Pernetti may have just prevented the Big East football conference from becoming so watered down that it would drown in a pool of its own incompetence.