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Butler president plays coy about realignment

Dec 15, 2012, 9:38 PM EDT

Butler's Brad Stevens goes onto the court against Indiana during an NCAA basketball game in Indianapolis Reuters

Before today’s epic overtime upset of No. 1 Indiana was even in the books, Butler president James Danko was asked the obvious question about his program’s future in the Atlantic 10 conference.

According to the Associated Press, his reply was something along the lines of the classic phrasing used when national security is involved – he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of his possible interest in moving Butler to the as-yet-nonexistent, theoretical basketball-centric league that may or may not be formed by the so-called Catholic Seven. A league that may or may not stretch from Maine to Washington State, if the rumors are true, and depending on who you believe.

Got that? If it’s not clear enough, here’s the direct quote from the AP:

During Saturday’s game against No. 1 Indiana, Butler President James Danko said he would not comment on a report this week that the Bulldogs could join the seven Catholic schools leaving the Big East in a new league. But when asked if he would completely rule it out, Danko said only that he would prefer to wait until “something happens.”

Danko’s reaction is really the only one possible at this juncture. Is he supposed to declare his intent to join an organization that doesn’t formally exist? Should he verbally commit to accept membership in the predicted basketball league without knowing a single thing about how it will be run? Even if he did, we should treat such a statement the way we treat a verbal commitment by a high school junior – it’s worthless until pen meets paper.

Any university official worth his salt will respond “no comment” until “something happens” at this point, because — as Gertrude Stein famously said — there’s no there there.

Not that such denials and cagey smiles will deter the press. Heck, I just wrote 300 words about a Seinfeldian nothing. And you just read it.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

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