Nov 28, 2012, 10:36 AM EDT
UPDATED 28 November, 2012, 5:49 p.m. ET
Mike Aresco took the job as Big East commissioner in August and was immediately hailed as the man who could save the struggling conference.
A television executive by trade, Aresco has played the media negotiation game at CBS and was in line to sculpt a deal that would keep the conference financially stable for years to come.
But that was when he had more assets.
With Louisville’s departure to the ACC materializing Wednesday morning, Aresco is outside of his conference’s exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and out on the open market with much less than he likely thought he would have.
Without Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia, Louisville, TCU, Rutgers, or Notre Dame, Aresco is ultimately left with a group of Catholic basketball-only schools, a majority of former Conference USA school, and two schools—Connecticut and Cincinnati—who have an undeniable desire to jump ship.
The Big East tried to make an impact move Tuesday, adding Tulane as a full member and East Carolina as a football-only institution. What has long been a running joke has now almost fully come to be: The Big East in the new C-USA.
Without power players like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, or Notre Dame, the approach pursued by Aresco and the Big East seems to be one that focuses much more on scooping up as many television markets as possible, rather than having a solidified regional brand.
This explains the additions of San Diego State, Navy, and Boise State for football, and Memphis, Houston, UCF, Southern Methodist, Tulane, East Carolina, and Temple as full members.
However much criticism there is about the watering-down of the product, the Big East is looking for strongholds in metro markets and now has them in San Diego, Boise, Memphis, Houston, Orlando, Dallas, New Orleans, Raleigh, and Philadelphia.
We will have to wait to see what else shakes out, but as it stands now, the Big East also holds Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New York City, Chicago, and Tampa.
The remaining question is if such a model will draw substantial television dollars, which falls on the shoulders of Aresco and his ability to negotiate on behalf of his conference.
Purists who decry the lack of quality, long-standing rivalries should move on at this point. Put aside the ideal structure and realize the moves are so heavily based on economics that there is little room for that type of consideration.
Schools and athletic directors are looking out for what is economically best for their programs, which is what they were hired to do. No administrator will pass up a larger per-school payout to preserve some local rivalries.
One question that continues to arise, too, is the fate of the basketball-only and basketball-prominent schools in the Big East.
What becomes of St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall, and Villanova, who don’t have FBS football assets to offer a conference? As much as the idea of a basketball-only conference with programs like Butler and Xavier has been floating around, it all comes back to financial feasibility.
Football drives realignment and the Catholic basketball schools would be taking a significant cut to break off and form their own league, so where do they go?
We might need to see a few more dominoes fall before we have any idea.
Apr 16, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT
Caris LeVert reiterated his decision to return to Michigan for his junior year at the team’s postseason banquet Wednesday.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:57 PM EDT
According to a report, New Mexico State center Sim Bhullar will forego his final two seasons of eligibility to turn pro.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:24 PM EDT
After leading USC in scoring last season, Byron Wesley announced that he’ll be transferring after graduating this summer.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT
Arizona State’s Jahii Carson made official the news that’s been known since October: he’ll be entering the 2014 NBA Draft.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:32 PM EDT
Former Northwestern guard/forward Kale Abrahamson will finish out his career in his home state.
Apr 16, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT
UCLA’s Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine made official their decisions to enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
After considering leaving school to enter the NBA Draft, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons will return for his junior season.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
Three years after shortening the time players have to make a decision regarding the NBA, it’s time for the NCAA to re-adopt the NBA’s pre-draft calendar.
Apr 16, 2014, 3:07 PM EDT
The Arizona State transfer is headed to Rice.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
The Dukes have landed the for Massachusetts Player of the Year.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
There may not be a recruit with a more interesting back story that Devonta Pollard.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Do you like them?
Apr 16, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Getting Kansas State to the NCAA tournament earned Bruce Weber an extension.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:49 AM EDT
Jim Christian wins his first recruiting battle as the head coach at BC.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
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Apr 16, 2014, 10:20 AM EDT
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Apr 15, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT
The Mustangs and Bulldogs are looking to meet in a home-and-home series.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT
Watch the 7-foot-6 center play baseball.
Apr 15, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
Austin will leave Waco after two seasons.
Apr 15, 2014, 7:34 PM EDT
He will have two years of eligibility remaining.
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