Ramsey updates conference situation

Though UofL president James Ramsey wouldn't speculate about Louisville's possible interest in the Big 12 at Thursday's tip-off luncheon, he did update and provide insight into the schools conference situation.

Conference realignment was a hot topic at Thursday's basketball tip-off luncheon and UofL President James Ramsey met with reporters before the event to provide an update.

Though Ramsey didn't report any earth-shattering news, it's clear the university is intently interested in what's going on around the nation, and in the Big East, particularly the news of TCU's defection to the Big 12, which caught Ramsey by surprise.

"The president of TCU told us the Sunday before they got the (Big 12) invitation that they would never get an invitation, that there was some internal politics in the state of Texas," Ramsey said. "He just never thought they would get that opportunity."

Ramsey said the loss of TCU, coming in the wake of defections by Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC last month, has him concerned about the future of the Big East, a league UofL has been a proud member of since 2005.

"The (lack of) stability and the loss of TCU have impacted us in a lot of ways, even more so than Pittsburgh and Syracuse," said Ramsey. "So we're supporting the Big East as it tries to expand and add six more football playing members. We'll just have to see. There are a lot of things beyond our control. We'll always try to do what's in the very best interests of the University of Louisville."

How quickly the Big East might be able to add new members remains unclear. Navy, a Big East expansion target, has expressed concern about the league's lack of stability. Reportedly, the Big East failed to enact increased exit fees designed to recommit the current members, and Louisville, West Virginia and UConn continue to be mentioned as expansion targets for other leagues.

"They're working very hard and meeting with other schools," Ramsey said. "We don't want to add schools just for the sake of adding schools, make sure they're the right fit academically and with the commitment of their athletic programs. As soon as something is done it will be announced."

With longtime members Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving, Ramsey was asked about the possibility of Louisville becoming a so-called ‘powerbroker' with more control in a reconfigured Big East.

"We're not focused on that," Ramsey said. "We just want to do what is in the best interests of the university. Again, the Big East has been a great home for us and has taken us into great media and recruiting markets as far as students…..but we've got a lot of work to do to get six more members."

Ramsey was then asked if Louisville would have an interest in the Big 12 if Missouri left for the SEC. There have been wide spread reports that Louisville would be the replacement choice for the Tigers, who are eyeing a move to join Texas A&M as the SEC's 14th member.

"We won't speculate," Ramsey said with a smile. "We'll let that play out."

Ramsey didn't have a timeframe for when the next domino in conference realignment, presumably Missouri, might fall.

"That's the hard part," Ramsey said. "We have no idea. It's a domino effect, one domino has to fall and then others. We'll keep focused on what we're doing to make UofL a better university every day. When something happens we'll be prepared to do whatever we have to do."


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