In the wake of the departures of Louisville and Rutgers, seven schools have agreed to leave the Big East conference. For ongoing updates on this story as it develops, check out SB Nation’s Big East conference realignment storystream.
Rutgers University’s departure from the Big East might end up triggering a domino effect that leads to the dismantling of one of the more dominant conferences in women’s college basketball in recent years (on the strength of UConn and Notre Dame’s success alone, if nothing else).
Multiple reports have Boise State and San Diego State reconsidering their move to the Big East in light of recent developments, as described at SBNation.com yesterday, while BYU is also considering its move away from the MWC in light of playoff possibilities.
One of the primary reasons the Broncos and Aztecs moved to the Big East for football was the increase in television revenue. But now the Mountain West and Big East would be on equal footing for the playoffs because of the BCS’ decision to grant an automatic berth to the highest ranked champion from the “Group of Five” conferences. Additionally, the Big East could be losing TV revenue with the departure of Rutgers and Louisville or Connecticut, meaning it may make more financial sense for Boise State and SDSU to remain in the Mountain West.
In addition to those potential defections, there have been rumors of the ACC now looking at either Connecticut or Louisville as a potential replacement for Maryland, which has also chosen to depart for the Big Ten with Rutgers. Mike Rutherford of SBN’s Card Chronicle has outlined the pros and cons of UConn and UofL, obviously leaning toward the latter.
U of L is getting a lot of support right now from higher-ups at other universities who recognize how successful the program has been in athletics across the board (you know, like actual games, and stuff) since it joined the Big East. Also, Louisville sports make a lot of money.
There’s a very easy case to be made for why Louisville should be the ACC’s 14th member, but in the end it’s going to come down to convincing a handful of individuals whose interests and priorities aren’t clear.
Obviously, UConn is among the strongest women’s basketball programs in the nation – if not the strongest – which would make the ACC a powerhouse basketball conference. But Louisville is a solid program as well and if geography ends up playing a factor in the decision – which doesn’t seem like a given these days – the Cardinals might have an edge.