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Why is the Big East sabotaging Big East football?

Mark Blaudschun from the Boston Globe is well-established as a mouthpiece for the Big East conference leadership. Blaudschun's story today about merging the Big East with Conference USA and the Mountain West can only inspire two possible, related reactions. 1. Pure horror and revulsion. 2. Now more than ever, it is crystal clear that the Big East conference leadership stands firmly against the Big East football schools, and is trying to thwart and denigrate them at every turn. What possible upside is there for Big East football in this story? Merely contemplating this scenario is crossing an unforgivable rubicon. It is in the interests of the Big East conference to extract as large a television contract as possible for all sports, but that isn't necessarily in the best interest of the traitorous basketball schools. For all the talk of collective good, they only care about their own immediate gratification, and have zero regard for any possible consequences. This leak is a shot across the bow against Big East football, and the continued behind the scenes angling to take the conference's television rights to the open market. The basketball schools now that they are the losers in any split, and are making a last ditch effort to flex their muscles and jockey for negotiating position. It won't work, and this latest gesture of bad faith will do them no favors once the knives really start coming out.

2010 Big East tax returns

I was just looking at my 2009 copy of the BE's form 990, and decided to check GuideStar to see if they had the 2010 form yet (as they hadn't as of a few months ago.) Lo and behold, it's there now. Want to know why the Big East is about to die? Let's use UConn as an example, as there are few athletic departments more skewed towards basketball over football than UConn. However, UConn barely made less than 100k more for basketball than it did for football. Football, now and forever, is the television revenue king - even in a conference like the Big East that tried to marginalize football at every opportunity. Digging around GuideStar for info on non-profits can be hit or miss, but occasionally there is informative stuff; like the BE return, Big Ten, ACC, or page 52 of Syracuse's.

Exit fee increase approved unanimously

This actually wasn't a fake vote. The football schools shouldn't have to play this blackmail, but consider it insurance while working on a way out.

Big East football should vote no

Big East football should vote no

Providence is leaking info again

First it was to Lenn Robbins in the NY Post this morning, reporting that the Big East would expand to twelve football teams, double the football exit fees to $10m (with no change for basketball), and that Villanova successfully blocked Temple's admission for all-sports. Now Brett McMurphy is seconding that report. Let's recap: 1. Big East football is dying, and yet the conference's first (and only) priority is to preserve undeserved privilege for its eight basketball programs no matter what the cost. That is exactly why Pittsburgh and Syracuse left for the ACC. They're conceivably adding a second team in Texas now instead of, you know, a program that actually plays in the Northeast in Temple. The fact that John Marinatto still has comfortable job security (as do Jim Burr and Tim Higgins!) speaks volumes about where the league's priorities are at right now. 2. Given how these leaks are coming from John Marinatto's trusted mouthpieces, there's still hope that the Big East football schools aren't going along with raising the exit fees. That would be foolish and unnecessary. The only scenario where it makes sense to up the exit fees is if the conference where to split. None of the football schools can afford to be trapped in a conference with eight unwelcome leaden anchors. 3. Not only is raising the exit fee a bad idea, but the basketball programs kept their exit fee at only $5 million dollars to make sure Notre Dame maintained precious negotiating leverage. Yep. Priorities are crystal clear. The only things the Big East conference cares about are Touchdown Jesus and filling seats at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Blow it up, Tim and Ollie. Blow it up. Update: surprise, surprise, the leaks may end up being wrong. With C-USA and the MWC merging, there's no need to up the exit fee. Why would the likes of UCF and Boise want to stick around in that monstrosity? Update2: no vote Sunday, although Blaudschun says everything is still going to happen.

At yesterday's meeting, potential candidates such as Boise State, Central Florida and Temple were...

At yesterday's meeting, potential candidates such as Boise State, Central Florida and Temple were discussed, but no consensus could be agreed upon which teams to invite first, or at all. The basketball factions were adamant about not adding anyone, while the football faction argued that if the Big East is going to survive as a BCS conference, whose champion gained automatic entry to a BCS bowl it is imperative for Boise State, with its high national ranking was a necessity for survival.

Time for a split. There's no way around it. Update: now Luicci says that VIllanova is blocking Temple. Looks like the non-football schools will get the conference they want - a conference that does not exist.

The Big East is negotiating through the media

Kudos to Tom Luicci for a flurry of excellent stories over the past few days. There's a lot of news coming out of yesterday's football-only conference call, but Navy could be getting cold feet. That isn't a bad thing. Navy has a good football program, but the idea of federated membership is a flawed idea that only serves the end of keeping an unsustainable league together. The football-only schools understandably want a split in all but name, but getting a no from the service academies could finally push a much-needed split. Rutgers cannot give in, and there is no reason to expect that they will. There are two scenarios that make sense on our end: defanging the non-football programs once and for all, or buying enough time until the next round of conference reshuffling. Per John Marinatto's press agent, the non-football programs are ready to bolt. It's likely an empty threat, but they are clearly getting nervous, and now it's time to amp up the pressure (i.e., demand admitting multiple full members) and force a resolution.

Is UCF the first Big East domino?

The Greenwich Time thinks so, additionally adding (hooray) that the exit fees will not be raised. Huzzah! Update: and it looks like Temple is next.

Some good news on BE expansion

Tom Luicci reports that the BE doesn't have the votes to raise its exit fees, and is finally looking at realistic options like Houston as opposed to FCS bottom feeders.

The Big East's half measures

Tom Luicci says the plan is to add Temple and UCF as full members, along with Boise State, Air Force, and Navy as federated members for football only - with the possibility of still upgrading Villanova. That speaks volumes to the Big East's priorities. Nova is 1-5 in FCS, and the Big East would rather add them then a real program like Houston capable of threatening the Providence-centric power structure. Blow it up, Tim and Ollie, blow it up. No to raising the exit fees, no to Villanova, each is a bridge too far that cannot be crossed. The remaining Big East football schools are only inviting ruin by staying in the same conference as eight programs that resent how much football drives the college football revenue structure. They are a cancer, and their continued presence cannot be tolerated. Given the Big East's 3/4 veto requirement, RU and WVU can likely block Villanova football, although that's (falsely) assuming that only three programs were against Nova. As to blocking the exit fee - Rutgers, WVU, and UConn would need to find a fourth partner for that, but fortunately Luicci reports that the measure isn't making much traction.

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