No Boise, no more Big East football

When the official announcement came, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco was on a plane to New Orleans, where he will watch Big East champion Louisville face Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.

Once again, Aresco will have to deal with a defection, rather than an addition, as Boise State chose Plan B, which was not to join the Big East football conference next July as scheduled. Instead, the Broncos will stay with the Mountain West in all sports.

Which begs an ongoing question for Aresco and the Big East.  What’s next? With Boise State gone, San Diego State–which has a no exit payment clause in its agreement with the Big East if there are no other teams west of the Rockies–could also do a U-turn and stay with the Mountain West.

Don’t bet against that happening quickly as well, which would basically wipe out the Big East’s Western expansion strategy and leave the league at 10 teams–which means no championship game next season as had been planned.

With that move and some expected movement by the 7 Catholic non FBS schools who declared earlier this month that they were also leaving, Big East football is even more in state of limbo than it has been for the past several months.

Or in more blunt terms: Turn out the lights, the party is over.

If I were Aresco, I would make the call to  Conference USA, which is set to give up Central Florida, East Carolina, Tulane, SMU, Houston, Memphis to the Big East, and talk merger. Take the 12 teams currently in Conference USA, add UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida to form a 16 team all sports conference and make the best of it. I would allow Rutgers and Louisville to leave early (next season) for the Big Ten and ACC.  Let Notre Dame join Pitt and Syracuse in the non-football ACC sports as well.

Then I would sit down with the television networks and Conference USA officials and say  we have a 16-team all sports, two division conference. Make us an offer and we will sign the deal.

The 7 Catholic schools in the Big East and the surviving Big East members who currently are still members in good standing (Cincinnati, UConn and South Florida) should then split all the money that the conference now has and is due to receive. I would then let the football operation be called Conference USA and the Catholic Schools can take the Big East name.

I would thank everyone and then turn out the lights and lock the doors.

© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.

  33 comments for “No Boise, no more Big East football

  1. CougarTruth
    January 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    That is about the most lame suggestion I have heard yet. Schools like Cincy, Houston, South Florida, and SMU would be total dumb axxes to follow that lead.

    Giuess you have sold your soul to ESPN as well.

  2. January 2, 2013 at 2:03 am

    A UConn, UMass, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Holy Cross, Temple, Ball St. Ohio and Marshall is a good foundation for a 16 team all sports league.

  3. Dennis
    January 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Mark-your logistical analysis is spot on. Merge what is left of the BE football schools with CUSA, split the revenues of the league with the Catholic 7 and the reamaining football schools, release everyone out of their contracts and close it out. The obituary has already been written for the BE, now it is a matter of winding out the estate after the will has been written. RIP Big East….you were a great, great basketball conference.

    Game, set, match…..Greed.

  4. January 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Best route is to raid the top 2 or 3 teams from the MAC, and then you have the best of the rest conference from Texas east. Mountain West would have the same going west.

  5. Tim
    January 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Cusa has invited Charlotte, etsu, n tex, fau, utsa, odd, etc to start play in 2013. With Charlotte at Fbs level in 2015. Look at wiki page for cusa to see incoming and outgoing members

  6. Tim
    January 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

    As a Charlotte alum, I would be upset here. We just got an invite BACK to CUSA and were original members. We will be all sports beginning this fall, and FOOTBALL in 2015. Don’t think CUSA can rescind offers here.

    • SGT
      January 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Tim, I feel for ya.

      Probably can’t rescind the offers without facing litigation, but on the other hand, all of the current members could easily (a) vote to eliminate exit fees, and minutes later (b) join up with the Big East refugees in a new conference.

  7. Ken82
    January 1, 2013 at 8:44 am

    The conference is done. CUSA plays decent football a merger would be the best bet. They could probably get a decent TV contract and would have decent basketball. The problem is that if the power 5 all go to 16 Uconn an Cinci are gone with SF close behind. After those 3 its Tulsa Houston, Central Florida and maybe Memphis. Memphis is a tough one though because they spend zero dollars on anything but basketball.

  8. January 1, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Can CUSA rescind offers?

  9. Joker
    December 31, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I see no reason to join up with UTSA and FIU as Blaudschun recommends. Just backfill the members you lose with new CUSA members. There’s still a lot of money due in the coffers, and the remaining schools would lose a lot of it by doing things as this blog recommends.

    Use that money to entice the best members looking to move, and go small. No bigger than 12, but even 10 is a decent number. There is absolutely no reason to saddle the league with schools that joined D1 3 months ago.

    • January 1, 2013 at 12:08 am


      I don’t want USF submitting to permanent status as a lower-tier athletic department and potentially weaken as an academic institution.

    • SG Thompson
      January 1, 2013 at 1:37 am

      “Take the 12 teams currently in Conference USA, add UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida to form a 16 team all sports conference and make the best of it.”


      I think Blaudschun is being misunderstood… UTSA, FIU, et al are not currently in CUSA.

  10. December 31, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What about all the teams Conference USA is adding to replace those leaving for the Big East? All those nobody Sun Belt teams. that would be too many teams.

    • SG Thompson
      December 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      That’s why, technically, it’s hard to see the four refugees joining with the current CUSA members in a new CUSA… rather, the current members (both those who have already announced they’re leaving and those who are not) will join the four refugees in a newly-branded conference.

  11. RudyMass
    December 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Wow. Exactly why would UConn and Cincy join CUSA when they are viable ACC candidates? Both would be better off as independents short term than join this unholy mess.

    The Texas schools are on MWC speed dial.

    • SG Thompson
      January 1, 2013 at 1:40 am

      One, ACC is the only option for those schools… it’s not like ACC has some competition, and had better bring them on-board or lose them… and yet, neither school really adds anything to their conference. If they get invites, it will only be as replacements for Florida State and Clemson.

      Two, FSU and Clemson aren’t going anywhere soon, mainly because (a) Big XII elephants Texas and Oklahoma perceive the disadvantages to be greater than the advantages of going to 12; and (b) SEC wants to keep their options open, just as does the B1G… expanding by two more schools pretty much seals the deal on what 16 will be in the conference in perpetuity… and besides, adding new schools in SC and FL doesn’t add much value.

      • SG Thompson
        January 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

        “…better off as independents…”


        Independents cannot compete for a BCS bowl bid, so unless you’re BYU who is going it alone for some unique reasons largely associated with their religious affiliation, indy status is less desirable than ever before.

        • SJGMoney
          January 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

          Really? Ever heard of Notre Dame?

          • SGT
            January 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm

            Money, with all due respect, it wouldn’t appear you’ve been following the news on this… Notre Dame received special treatment in the new agreement. BYU did not. Unless BYU joins up with a conference, they have no path to a new-BCS bowl game; though like any other school, would have a path to the playoff game (under whichever bowls they happen to be featured in a given year) and national championship.

            This might help…


          • SJGMoney
            January 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

            I’m well aware of the “ND rule”, but you said BYU couldn’t play for BCS bid right? And now you are saying they can if…? Which was my point, they CAN compete for a title.

          • SGT
            January 1, 2013 at 10:35 pm

            All good.

            The original point was that indy status is less desirable than ever before… why?… because now there is an automatic BCS slot for the best of the Go5 schools, and the money that goes with it… and so, contrary to Rudy’s assertion, for Cincy and UConn to not be in a position to compete for that slot is an unholy-er mess.

          • CJ
            January 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

            False – BYU can compete for an at large bid to a “BCS” Bowl. The fact that they cannot compete for an auto bid doesn’t mean that the at large bids are off the table.

            Also, as has been mentioned, BYU can has as much access to the 4 team playoff as any other school.

      • Jack Black
        January 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Uconn doesn’t add anything??!?!?!?! Well duh, what about nags hoops!!!!!! Total superpower. Plus, you have to remember they have 25 fans in Boston and 12 in NYC so they can deliver the Hartford, New York, and Boston tv markets.

    • Mission Critical
      January 1, 2013 at 7:26 am

      RudyMass, it’s because it has become abundantly clear that UConn is not a viable ACC candidate.The ACC really doesn’t want them. Cincy may be viable some day, but that day is a a few years away.

      The BE is finished I don’t know what Aresco is going to do now. He’s got such a damaged product, no stability and nothing great to sell.


      • Jack Black
        January 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        Good point. No one wants Uconn. That athletic department is going to die on the vine. What a shame (well, not really).

  12. sjgmoney
    December 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Mark, as someone who has been saying all along that Boise wouldn’t do this, despite the fact that it makes perfect sense, do you really think you should be giving advice to anyone?

    This end result has been clear as the nose on your face yet another Big East Commissioner fiddles while Rome burns. UConn is f’d, they need to be proactive immediately. They should be working at dividing and conquering the Catholic 7: Get Villanova to commit to playing big boy football and keep them in Big East. Then get one more to do the same and stay at 12 teams. The football TV $ are so much bigger than basketball that someone will do it.

  13. SG Thompson
    December 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I think that’s essentially what we’re going to see (BE refugees joining with current CUSA), except that MWC is going to push hard to add the Houston (UH) and Dallas (SMU) markets at minimum.

    And don’t forget that Navy also figures into this conversation somehow… and too, maybe Army becomes a bit more interested in conference affiliation.

    • SG Thompson
      December 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      By the way… Cincy, Temple, Memphis and UConn would add too much value to a TV contract, in my opinion, for the Catholic 7 to ignore. And from those four schools’ perspective, they can’t be very excited about having their basketball product watered down by the likes of Central Florida et al. It seems a natural conclusion to think that those four will continue a basketball affiliation with those seven, even though no one’s said anything yet. Am I wrong?

    • December 31, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Definitely see the possibility of SMU and Houston going to the MWC
      And afterward if the MWC can take Tulsa and UTEp they might get to 16 before the Big-USA conf

  14. December 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Yikes! I don’t want a merger with Conference-USA!

    • Ken82
      January 1, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Feel for ya bull.

  15. nickp
    December 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    bad New Year for Mike Aresco

  16. Ted
    December 31, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Aresco might want to make a merger quickly before the MWC tries to lure a couple more of those schools (Houston, SMU and Cincy). It will be nice when all this realignment is over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *