Remaining Big East Football Presidents Meet

The last ditch effort by the presidents of the five remaining Big East football schools to University of Miami president Donna Shalala resulted in...

...not a whole lot. No official proposals were made, and the tiresome "meaningful dialogue" statements were trotted out time and again.

After a brief conference lasting not much more than an hour, not much was accomplished other than an indication that an additional conversation, not necessarily in person, could take place between the presidents.

In a relase from the University of Miami, Shalala said that had made no decision about the possible departure.

Several University presidents from the affected schools, which include West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Pittsburgh, made generic statements about the meetings, but nothing of substance emerged from the conversations.

One interesting tidbit did come from Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, who said that the ACC has not made an official financial offer to the breakawy schools. That contradicts previous reports that the ACC had offered $9.7 million dollars per year to the three breakaway schools.

WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong said that he believes that the money factor in Miami's move is less of a factor than was previously believed, so the remaining Big East schools made the attempt to remove it from the picture entirely with their payoff offer of $9 million dollars per year to Miami.

"We all looked at this as a business decision, so we made the offer, as we all know, of the nine million dollars," Pastilong said. "It's becoming clearer that future stability and interest in a 12 team conference is playing a part in this."

Pastilong said that "99% of our efforts have been toward retaining what we have now" in terms of keeping the conference together, but then proceded to detail some work that has been done if the three teams do leave.

"We have been doing some contingency planning and some 'what ifs'," Pastilong said.

"Take schools on bball side. It's important that we keep a dialogue with them. But, we will explore bringing in both football and basketball schools. If we can attract the right schools, keep the BCS package, and keep our involvement with Notre Dame, we think everything can be ok. They (Notre Dame) have indicated that they won't come into a conference, but if we can come up with some form of an alliance with them, that could help us in regards to reataining our BCS."

Pastilong also said he is "confident" that the remaining Big East schools, along with some additions, can keep their automatic BCS bid.

"That's once of our primary interests. If we can keep that, we can retian a lot of the strengths and finances that are important to maintaining a good conference."

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