Jurich: UofL not ruling out 'any options'

Tom Jurich told InsideTheVille.com before the Governor's Cup that Louisville isn't ruling any options out in the wake of Syracuse and Pittsburgh's departure to the ACC. UofL AD also says Cardinals "well-positioned" in shifting college landscape.

Tom Jurich said he was surprised by the news that Syracuse and Pittsburgh appear headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jurich, who said it's a "done deal," the Orange and Panthers are bolting the Big East, learned the news from CBS' Brett McMurphy Saturday morning.

"It was something I wasn't planning on," Jurich said Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. "We'll just have to deal with it. The number one is we've got to protect ourselves and look at all of our great opportunities. We've just got to be aggressive. There are going to be a lot of opportunities out there. I'd prefer for it to be in the Big East, but we're not going to rule out anything."

Whether or not the Big East can survive the defections of Syracuse and Pittsburgh remains uncertain. That's why Louisville plans to keep all of it's conference affiliation options open – Big East or otherwise.

"The thing we've got to do right now is look around and see what happens," Jurich said. "What's going to happen with the Big 12? What's going to happen with the independents, what are they going to do?"

One thing Jurich does seem sure about is that BCS college football is headed toward four, 16-team ‘Super Conferences.'

"I don't think I could argue against that, I think it's going that way," Jurich said. "I would prefer more leagues because I think it's good for college sports. But if that's the way it's going our goal is to be one of the 64. I think we're positioned to do that."

Jurich believes Louisville has ‘across the board' appeal to potential BCS super conferences.

"We're competitive across the board, which many schools can't say," Jurich said. "From a facilities standpoint we don't take a backseat to anybody in the country. From a competitive standpoint we certainly don't. We're a $74 million corporation, basically. That's a big number for an athletic department. We're invested in women's sports and we're very competitive."

While Jurich said Louisville hasn't taken part in ‘formal' discussions with other leagues, he admitted 'informal' conversations have taken place.

"We've talked to other leagues," Jurich said. "But we've never done anything formally because we have too much respect for the league we're in."

On rumors circulating about a potential merger between the remaining Big 12 and Big East programs, Jurich said, "I do see that as plausible because you're talking about some really good schools. I think the Big 12 has some really good schools that could be left in the wake of this breakup."

That group could include schools like Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State. Would Louisville be interested in joining a league with Texas, considering the Longhorns $300 million television network?

"That's something that has to be ironed out," Jurich said. "It's far too premature to be talking about that right now. We've had a lot of discussion over the past several years what the landscape would look like. We want to make sure we're in the middle of that landscape. That's been my number one goal."

Jurich said he spoke with a ‘few' Big East athletic director's on Saturday about the departures of Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC.

"I think a lot of them were shocked," Jurich said. "I don't think people saw that coming because you had a president (Pittsburgh) leading the charge…who was the chairman of the executive committed everybody entrusted. So it was a little odd to me. He was the one keeping us all together and unified."

Pittsburgh is ‘rumored' to have been behind the idea to decline ESPN's multi-million television deal for the Big East this summer and a leading opponent against Villanova joining the league as a football-member.

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