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Geno Auriemma sounds off on realignment

Dec 19, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT

Geno Auriemma AP

It was only a matter of time until Geno Auriemma, the head coach of the UConn women’s team, let loose on conference realignment.

He’s a fiery guy and unafraid to voice his opinion on any matter, which is only magnified by the fact that he is, undoubtedly, the absolute best in his profession.

“I hope they all leave tomorrow,” Auriemma told John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant. “But they can’t, because we have to play out the [2012-13] schedule. But as soon as it’s over, let them go and do what they need to do, just like Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia did. West Virginia did it the right way. They said they didn’t want to be in the Big East any more and said, ‘See you later, I’m out of here.’ I hope they all take that approach.”

I can understand his frustration.

Men’s basketball, the second most popular collegiate sport and the reason that the NCAA is able to generate three-quarters of their annual revenue thanks to the roughly $700 million Turner and CBS forked over to broadcast the NCAA tournament, had absolutely no say in realignment until the Catholic 7 pulled out of the Big East. Auriemma’s sport doesn’t even qualify as an afterthought.

It’s a non-entity.

His team is at the mercy of TV contracts and hurt feelings. And while it won’t matter what conference UConn is a part of — Auriemma will steamroll any league that he is in — it must be frustrating to be utterly clueless when it comes to who your league foes will be a year from now and to have no say in the matter.

There’s more:

“Everyone has their own ideas and theories. Everyone wants to live in a nostalgic world where, as Garrison Keillor said, all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.

“Everyone wants to live in the place where the nine original schools of the Big East are all together and will play against each other forever. Then football became the driving vehicle. You are either at the table with the big boys or you are not.

“The Catholic schools did a really good thing. They stayed at the table for as long as it took them to make as much money as they could. And once they saw all the money running out, they decided to go play somewhere else. Had some of them managed to vote appropriately over the last 10 years [as Big East conference members with a say on rights' fees], we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.

“They did what was best for them, just like a lot of Catholic schools do. They like to say the state schools are the big bad guys. I’ve heard my share of that in my time in the conference [28 years].”

At this point, it’s better to just save your breath, Geno.

Realignment is a freight train. Nothing can slow it down, especially not a women’s basketball coach. To the decision maker, your opinion simply does not matter.

All that rant did was give me fodder for a blog post.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. eshine76 - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    This coming from the same guy whose school had been begging the ACC to call them.

  2. buccobrigade - Dec 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I love UConn, but man, he’d be happy if they went to the ACC so this whole rant only came about because they got stuck without a conference.

  3. tomtravis76 - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    You have to assume he is a great coach, just by his record/team accomplishments, but even if he ran off 10 straight titles he wouldn’t move the needle. Watching womes basketball is like watching a freshman boys hs team, in most cases game is below the rim based around fundamentals and lots of mistakes.

    The womens game almost needs to come up with some new ideas much like the ABA to draw interest. Lower the rim to 9ft? A 4 point line?

  4. LPad - Dec 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    I hate UConn but Geno is right. Anyone who’s followed the Big East for years no that the Catholic 7 had a lot to do with the problems. The fact that when the Big East lost football/basketball schools like Miami, BC, VaTech, but had to import basketball only schools like Marquette in addition to Louisville, Cincinnati indicates that there was problem with the basketball only schools. Even when needing to import basketball/football schools to replace the schools lost and get a conference championship game, the basketball/football schools had to cater to the non-football schools.

    • LPad - Dec 20, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      * know

  5. bg4866 - Dec 20, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Sounds like coach geno is a little upset, maybe instead of blaming the Catholic 7, he should blame his own school for trying to pimp themselves to the ACC 2x with no luck, what does this say about Uconn with all the success they have had in both mens & womens hoops, the ACC told them NO THANK YOU. The NCAA has got that program in their cross hairs, ” For whom the bell tolls, – it tolls for the – TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

  6. jlinatl - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    It’s easy to point fingers. Some of his points are valid. It’s been reported that UConn was hoping/pushing/begging to get into the ACC.

    Realistically, the conference was not sustainable in the conference realignment reality that is sweeping the other conferences. It may be easy to point fingers but it was going to happen regardless.

    The conference was either going to take steps to grow or be canibalized. Unfortunately, it was interrelated. If UConn ends up in the ACC in the future, we will hear some variation of it being sad but for the best.

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