Big East’s John Marinatto Resigns/Gets Fired: Or “How the ACC Expanded to 14 Teams”

John Marinatto Was Forced to Resign Because He Never Knew How to Proactively Stop the Bleeding in the Big East

By now you’ve heard all about Big East commissioner (and Providence pasta connoisseur) John Marinatto’s departure. Yet, rather than blame him for the league’s failure to be reactive in the conference realignment game, we’re seeing an awful lot of charming eulogies of a man. Obviously, as a Syracuse fan happy to be on board with the ACC, this is aggravating, and downright false. Cincinnati and Connecticut have already issued statements that they’re pretty thrilled to be in the league, apparently trying to cover things up even further.

Based on the coverage around the web, this will likely be news to everyone, but Marinatto and his Providence predecessor Mike Trangehse (and to a lesser extent the late Dave Gavitt, another Friar, himself) were not the most forward-thinking of fellows. Rather than proactive, they were reactive. Instead of being football focused in a marketplace that increasingly called for such an approach, the Big East’s commissioners decided that running a basketball league was more important. Even when they had a football league, it was all about reactionary moves. Why take Penn State proactively, when you can be reactive and invite Miami, Temple, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia Tech. At the time three of those five were great gets. But as always, the league fell short of becoming all it could be on the gridiron. Continue reading

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ACC Football Chat: Conference Realignment Rumors — Florida State, Clemson, Big 12, etc.

Is There Any Validity to the Big 12-ACC Expansion Rumors? And Who Do We Think the ACC Should Target Next?

In our weekly chats, Mike and I discuss different topics pertaining to ACC football and then post the conversation up here. Disagree with us? By all means, share your thoughts below. Happy to continue to the debate.

This week’s topic: Everyone’s favorite — conference realignment!

John: So conference realignment — people are starting to mutter about Florida State and Clemson potentially leaving the ACC for the Big 12. I call bull. Your thoughts?

Mike: I agree. No matter what anyone says, conferences are still based heavily on geography. That’s why I’ve always said that Notre Dame belongs in the Big Ten. The SEC for Clemson and FSU could make sense.

J: Well speaking of geography, do schools really care about it anymore? I mean, Syracuse & Boston College are still a bit out of place in the ACC. And Boise State‘s in the Big East.

M: Same with West Virginia going to the Big 12.

J: Agreed. So are we now agreeing that money’s most important? And if so, how much of it would it take for FSU and Clemson to leave sure shots at a BCS game and regional rivalries for a tougher road and slightly more money in the Big 12?

M: I don’t know. Longer distances between games means more jet lag and tougher matches, which could result in more losses, etc. And less time to study (hahaha). The money would have to be pretty good.

J: Yeah. And I’m unsure if the amount of money a league focused on that states of Texas and Oklahoma would get by adding the state of Florida and South Carolina’s second-most popular teams would definitely make the TV deal THAT much larger than what the ACC will have with Boston, New York, Washington, Charlotte, Raleigh, Pittsburgh and Atlanta all under its umbrella. Continue reading

Big East Expansion: Who’s Looking to Start a New Basketball Conference?

Could Georgetown Be Stirring Up Another Big East Exodus?

Apologizing for the slight divergence from our regularly scheduled programming (football) in advance:

In what has become a weekly saga around these parts, we take a look at our (and by our, I mean Syracuse‘s) former stomping grounds (the Big East), which look more like a graveyard most days. While addition has been on everyone’s mind lately, it appears that some more future defections could lead to subtraction in the future (shockingly?). Says the Chronicle of Higher Education: “…two Big East members (that) have had conversations about leaving the conference to start a new league built around traditional basketball powers.” This is, of course, of no surprise to anyone who’s ever been on the inside of the hulking, slow behemoth known as the Big East. But the bigger questions still loom — who are the two Benedict Arnolds, soon to be the “new Pitt and Syracuse?” and if these schools were to form a basketball superconference, who else would be on board?

Obviously, the additions of schools like SMU, Houston and UCF to the basketball league do nothing for the overall quality but provide additional punching bags for the likes of Georgetown and Louisville. Since most of the Big East currently pads their out of conference schedule in advance of what’s usually a brutal 18-game league schedule, these additional bottom-feeders really don’t help. We can surmise that multiple basketball schools are unhappy about this, but which ones are so unhappy they’d consider defection? Keep in mind that candidates will almost definitely be of the league’s old guard, and won’t have a football program (or much of one to speak of). They also won’t be Providence, because John Marinatto and the school hold joint ownership of the conference (metaphorically). Which leads us to Georgetown and St. John’s. Why them, but not say Seton Hall or Marquette? Simple: TV revenue.

Once again, we know that schools are unhappy with this setup, but you have to look at which ones possess enough value to attract other big basketball schools away from their respective conferences and into the “Roundball League” (or whatever probably horrendous name it adopts). Since the Hoyas and Red Storm deliver parts of the New York and D.C. markets, these are your best options. We avoid Villanova since not only do they fail to be the hottest game in town, but their football program is looking to move up in the world (not possible in a basketball-only league). With these two main players set, the following Big East teams probably jump at the chance to join up: Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul. Assuming they aim for 12, who else do they grab?

In this scenario, we assume Memphis and Temple are pushed by the Big East failing to extend an invite (highly plausible). Recognizing the sinking ship they’d remain a part of, ‘Nova would finally jump to this league, as would Providence. For the final two spots (and to keep it semi-regional), I’d encourage George Mason and VCU. What you’re left with is a 16-team basketball superconference, whose weak link would probably still be DePaul (surely the Demon Deacons don’t find this as entertaining as I do). To be honest, they’d probably get just as many bids as the ACC for the NCAA Tournament every year (if not more). A frightening thought, but far too important to ignore.

If this all comes to fruition (we’re far from that right now), who’d you like to see in this basketball-only superleague? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.