Cards Next to Move
As expected, the University of Miami announced its decision today to leave the Big East for the allure of the Atlantic Coast Conference ending a nearly two month long process that will also see Virginia Tech heading to the ACC along with the Hurricanes. By losing Miami and Virginia Tech, the Big East effectively loses its two premier football programs.
With Miami and Virginia Tech's decision known, the University of Louisville now finds itself as the most sought program of Big East leaders to replace its departed schools and help strengthen its position among the nation's top conferences..
And with its 32 million dollar annual budget, nationally ranked basketball team and up and coming football program its easy to understand why every national media outlet lists UofL as the next program to make the conference switch.
There has been much speculation by the national news media that the Big East will look to add two all sports members to replace the Hurricanes and Hokies and two basketball only members to form eight team divisions for a total of 16 conference members.
Speculation this evening centers around Louisville being the first school invited to the Big East, essentially becoming Miami's replacement in a newly configured Big East. Central Florida (MAC), South Florida (C-USA), and Cincinnati (C-USA) are all vying to join Louisville and become the eighth all sports member of the Big East.
On the basketball only side, Marquette (C-USA) and Xavier (A-10) appear the most likely choices to round out the first wave of Big East expansion. Marquette, coming off last season's Final Four appearance, has heavily invested in its men's basketball program in recent years and has committed to staying among the nation's elite in the sport. Xavier has made several NCAA Tournament appearances during the past two decades and has tremendous long term potential.
The questions now become will the Big East decide to continue the confederation of basketball only and all-sports members and how soon will the Big East move to extend invitations to possible additions?
Our belief is that the current Big East members will decide to pursue the future in confederation and that this process could be finalized by the end of July. At any rate, Louisville is the top target and the wheels are in motion.
News and Notes
ACC Talk Heating Up?
Some members of the national news media have begun to speculate that Louisville could become the 12th addition to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Late last week, Dan Patrick openly speculated on his daily radio program about the Cards joining the ACC to begin the ever growing speculation tying the Cards to the ACC. Today, Bob Ryan claimed "the bidding war just began for the University of Louisville" between the Big East and ACC conferences on ESPN's Around the Horn. Check out the ACC message boards and you'll find the fans are starting to crank out Louisville's name in conjunction with the 12th and final spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
New Big East with Louisville Nation's Top Basketball Conference?
Would any conference in the nation be better than a Big East with Syracuse (Defending NCAA Champion), UCONN (1999 NCAA Champion), Louisville (1980,1986), Georgetown (1984), Villanova (1985), Marquette (2003 Final Four, 1977 Champs), Boston College, Pittsburgh and Xavier? For the record, that's 6 programs who have won NCAA Championships during the past 25 years. No other conference in America can make that claim and you'd have a hard time convincing us that any conference would annually be as strong as a new 16 team Big East Conference with Louisville, Marquette and Xavier joining the mix.
STATEMENT FROM COMMISSIONER MICHAEL TRANGHESE REGARDING THE ACC EXPANSION OF MIAMI AND VIRGINIA TECH
"Although we are certainly disappointed with the actions taken this week by the ACC, we as a conference will now turn our attention to the future and the challenges that lie ahead.
Our membership continues to be supportive and will now collectively focus its energies on moving forward to develop plans to maintain the national academic and athletic excellence and presence that the BIG EAST Conference has long represented.
At some point in the future, our chief executive officers and athletic directors will come together to discuss our future. It is my hope that we deliberately embark on this very complex task with patience, sensitivity and thoughtfulness."
- BIG EAST Conference Commissioner Michael A. Tranghese
Things to Consider
1. Has Louisville already received an
invitation to the Big East?
2. Has Louisville accepted an invitation from the Big East?
3. Have discussions between Louisville and the ACC picked up steam in the past few days?
4. Has Louisville already met with the C-USA Commish about its pending exit from the league?
5. Has the C-USA Commish all ready given Louisville his blessing for the Cards departure and settled upon a fixed exit fee?
6. Is Louisville assisting the Big East in the selection of possible future expansion teams?
7. Is Louisville anxiously sitting by the phone hoping the call comes from the Big East?
8. Is Louisville actually working with the C-USA Commish in an attempt to strengthen C-USA by adding a few Big East programs?