Big East-San Diego State working on exit statement

Big East and San Diego State officials are working on a joint release announcing  a mutual agreement to dissolve San Diego State’s agreement to come to the Big East on July 1, 2013 according to sources familiar with the discussions.

At the same time, San Diego State and  Mountain West officials are finalizing an agreement which will keep San Diego State and Boise State in the MWC as full time members.

The announcements, barring any last second snags,  should be made in the next few days.

The joint statement by the Big East and San Diego State is more cosmetic than anything else, designed to make clear that there was no animosity by either party, just an consensus that the best course for both parties was to go their separate ways.

With the departure of San Diego State, following the decision by Boise State not to join (also this July), the Big East’s “western” strategy has been abandoned.

The current plan is to expand from 8 to 10 teams in football next season season with the addition of Houston,  SMU, Memphis and Central Florida to offset the loss of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The 10 teams for 2013 are expected to be: Connecticut, Temple, Rutgers, South  Florida, Cincinnati, Memphis, Louisville, Central Florida, SMU and Houston.

In 2014, Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) most likely will also leave, while  Tulane and East Carolina will replace them.  There has been some talk that Tulane and East Carolina could speed up the process and join a year earlier, but that is not likely to happen.

Navy is expected to join the conference in football only in 2015. The Big East may target other schools such as Tulsa and Massachusetts in the future, but right now the plan is to stabilize the inventory that currently exists.

In basketball, the Big East is expected to expand to 18 teams for next season with a mixture of old and new members, before the departure of  departure in 2014 of the Catholic 7–Seton Hall, Marquette, DePaul, Georgetown, Providence, St. John’s and Villanova, as well as Louisville, Rutgers and Notre Dame (ACC), dramatically changes the configuration again.

© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.

  37 comments for “Big East-San Diego State working on exit statement

  1. Jamie Barnes
    January 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    This was really just necessary. San Diego State and the Big East got caught holding the messy leftovers of a plan that wasn’t really commissioner Mike Aresco’s future vision for the conference. Boise State and SDSU might have worked if Boise State hadn’t decided to coax the MWC into better terms than its regular members. I think the reality of the situation — and something few media outlets didn’t want to admit — was that that the two western schools didn’t really add very much in overall value to the Big East. In particular, that caught Boise State by surprise.

    Aresco had nothing to gain in saying he didn’t want Boise State and SDSU, but essentially that become true. Together, they were still of some value and represented a strong foothold for further advances in the far west. But even that initiative was limited and ultimately doomed, I believe, because (No. 1) the schools were football-only members, a dynamic of instability in college athletic conferences and (No. 2) despite Boise’s real prominence nationally in football and SDSU in basketball and all-around, these two programs are rather average when it comes to overall athletic budgets.

    For instance, Boise State’s athletic budget is about the same as University of Houston’s. Cincinnati’s and the two Florida schools are significantly higher. That stuff matters. Boise State did not bust the BCS every year. So the bowl value they add to any conference is already watered down by the fact the school pretty much had to go undefeated to get a chance at a BCS bowl. Boise was at best only valuable to the Big East as a BCS buster for one year, and even then it would have been against the odds. Boise has only busted the BCS 3 times.

    Aresco knew it wasn’t prudent or necessary to his league’s needs to appease Boise State with special incentives, and he knew that SDSU’s best interests were with staying in the MWC if Boise wasn’t part of the deal.

    Too much conjecture has been made in assessing the MWC’s overtaking the Big East as the “Sixth Conference,” or the strongest of what will be the non-access conferences. The Big East is now (almost) an all-sports league with a more sensible, TV- and travel-viable geographic footprint. It’s real marketing footprint, typical school endowment, etc. is much stronger on average than that of the typical, newly expanded MWC.

    But the confrontational relationship between these two conferences needs to be replaced by one of intense, comprehensive cooperation. They in effect need to become a consortium of schools that forms a marketing and operational counterpoint to the access conferences. The member schools need to be much more selective in what schools from access conferences they play. Their fan bases need to support the programs when they play other MWC or Big East schools. They ultimately need to be a unified group when negotiating TV rights.

    Ultimately, I think they need to tell the access bowls and conferences to stick it, and form their own post-season scenario, whether that be bowls or even a separate playoff.

  2. Chris Columbo
    January 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    This is a very positive development . Getting rid of SDSU is the first bit of momentum the Big East has had in a few months. Now they can actually build a future that makes sense.

    The whole poorly executed Western Strategy is what made the Big East such an amorphous mess. It had no real TV appeal the way they had it set up. At the end of the day, to make a Western Strategy work for TV they really needed four brand name strong teams to make it work, namely Air Force, Boise State, BYU and San Diego State. That was something that could have some TV legs to it. With the 5 they recently took in, plus the remaining originals they could have had a passable football east division west division national football conference, although it would have had to have had a different name that reflected its national nature. They could have then kept the Big East basketball conference name intact with less tarnish to the brand. Net Net they would have been able to secure a solid Basketball contract and a football contract that would be better than these schools could have gotten on their own. However the screwed it up with only having the two western schools.

    So now they can go back to a Texas and Eastern Strategy that will actually have some competitive rhyme and reason for football. SMU Houston will be a decent rivalry as both have invested in nice new stadiums and have had some success recently, UCF and USF another potentially good regional rival with two mega schools. ECU has huge fan support and will be a good fun match up with whoever they play as they travel well and have a rabid home fan base. Also they have been quite strong over the long term Cincinnati is investing in a facility upgrade and a big time coach and should continue to be a factor on the national scene. The league will have one more year of Louisville and Rutgers as well, which should give Tulane , Memphis, Temple and U Conn some time to build momentum. Will it be a strong conference ?No. . However, it will be the best that is available to these particular group of schools and over time develop some logical rivalries will develop.

    The Basketball piece will still be among the better conferences with U Conn, Temple Memphis and Cincinnati as permanent fixtures.

    Now that San Diego is gone, Mr. Aresco can make a TVdeal, settle the C7 and start the step by step process of building a league. My instinct is now they make want to keep the Big East name if for nothing else than familiarity.

    When looking at this thing with a big picture perspective. There are a handful of schools that are getting a nice upgrade. There are a couple of schools as the poster named Greg above pointed out, that are lucky they were in a conference for several years that didn’t deserve the automatic BCS bid they had All the schools that bailed out either upgraded or now control their own destiny. So while this whole thing is ugly the end result is not bad for most schools involved. Yes U Conn basketball gets the short end of the stick but really they kind of deserve it by being so dramatic about their desire to leave the conference. They really devalued themselves and are temporarily stuck until the Big Ten makes its next move. I think Cincinnati is in a good place where they can be the leader in football and probably get that 6th bowl bid pretty regularly.. Also if either SMU or Houston has another big year like they did a few years ago things will change significantly for this football conference as well.

    • Greg
      January 17, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Chris, I like your enthusiasm. I’m not entirely sold on this league, but I’m trying to make the best of it. For me, I feel uncomfortable entering into a league that is full of teams looking for an escape. As an ECU guy, I really have great affection for our rivalry with Southern Miss. I think that’s the only thing really missing for me.

      Most of the concern that I’ve read from UConn, Cinci, and Temple fans is about basketball strength of the conference. If all ten teams (including ECU) were in a basketball conference right now, the average Sagarin Rating would be comparable to the SEC and Atlantic 10. Overall, I think that’s a fairly decent league, with great potential for growth.

      Time will tell, but I hope that other fans can start to be more supportive of the league. It might not be perfect, but it’s what we have for now. There’s a lot of potential here for a great league.

    • Curious
      January 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Uconn Basketball will be fine, the only problem right now is not being eligible for the tournements this year – they have played very well against very good competition. Saw the Louisville game – only game they were clearly beaten – and L is # 1 ranked. Ollie as coach is the real deal – they have three incoming recruits of quality -more to come – its football that need the boost – hopefully they hire a good OC

    • SJGMoney
      January 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      UConn is not ever going to get an invite to the B1G. They bring nothing to that table which is all about TV markets and cable right’s fees. They might be able to reverse-pay their way into the ACC eventually, and by that I mean accept less payout on the TV contracts for many years and basically whore themselves into the conference with a deal the other ACC schools can’t refuse. The money UConn gives up may even be enough for BC to finally unblock them. May.

    • fin
      January 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      I don’t disagree with a lot of the stuff you write Chris, but the glee in losing SDSU is not something I share. Good basketball in a good market with great recruiting is really a tough thing to find in an available FBS candidate.

      A national conference was a good and worthwhile goal. It would offer a ton more exposure and better money than this BE.

      Plus, IMO SDSU had a ton more positive attributes than most of the other BE schools. I recognize it is a minority opinion, It was to the point where it probably have been worth offering them a full share in return for a lot of OOC basketball games vs. the central schools to keep a platform in southern Cal.

      The BE wants every member to be full members. Why not give every FBS school a full share and just not travel there for all sports. It actually isn’t a crazy Idea as the football only members bring a better football product/media offering than the all-sports members. (ie. Navy football is worth more to the BE TV deal than Tulane’s full sports offerings.)

      If the BE was going to fly to any non-contract conference school west of the Rockies they could actually land (ie. not BYU), when you consider location, SDSU was the right one.

      I disagree with your 4 school statement. Those 4 were never likely once Rutgers left and the likely total dropped significantly. BYU may not have been before that.

      The 4 schools were only required when the payouts to be hit were $10M+. At $3-6M BYU was not required.

      As close as I can tell, AFA didn’t leave because they didn’t want to leave both of the MWC rivals they care about, CSU and Wyoming behind. Leaving CSU especially would have been a thorny issue in the state that AFA did not want to deal with, regardless of money.

      Either friend of AFA would likely have taken a BE invite. CSU is obviously much more attractive with their new stadium on the way. This especially seems viable given that UNM and CSU were on their own reportedly talking of breaking away.

      If you want to talk 4 schools for a western all-sports division, here’s a strategy that I think might have flown… SDSU + CSU & AFA + Pick 1

      Let’s say pick 1 out of UNM or UNLV, (or, if solidarity prevailed with UNM and UNLV, even USU -good basketball, SLC DMA – or plug your nose, SJSU -San Fran DMA ).

      Land the trio and let the best of the candidates for slot 4 panic until you get one you like.

      Like I said, I am bummed.

  3. Greg2600
    January 16, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    That 2014 lineup is one miserable football league. They will never get a BCS bid.

    • Greg
      January 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Once the playoff starts, I would assume that BCS bids are only going to the Top 5 conferences anyway.The only teams that are taking a downgrade from their current situation are Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida. And let’s be honest, those three teams have been lucky enough to spend the last five seasons in a football conference that truly didn’t deserve a BCS bowl spot in the first place.

      • Greg2600
        January 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

        No the best of the rest gets 1 automatic BCS bid. Not playoff, just regular BCS.

        • Greg
          January 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

          I think the winner of this league in 2014 has a stronger case to be that team than the winner of the MWC, MAC, CUSA, or Sun Belt does. From top-to-bottom, it’s probably the strongest of that bunch. The MWC is top-heavy, but the rest of the league is rather weak. The only thing that works against this group is that the teams are more evenly matched. Boise State could easily go undefeated in the Mountain West.

          • Chris Columbo
            January 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

            I think your analysis that the teams are evenly matched is a good point. I can see where there may be 4-5 decent teams in the 2014 Big East and it may not be possible to have a 10-11 win team because of that.. However, as you point out the winner will have a strong case due to level of competition. Also the Rutgers law suit will play out one way or the other, and it is possible they may still be in the mix in 2014.

            The question for the MWC will be what kind of non conference schedule Boise has. If they are playing teams like Michigan State etc it will be more difficult for them to run the tables. Also can they hold their very strong coach for two more years? There is nice job opening at Oregon now .

            The MAC winner will be in the mix as well. Remember a lot of those teams play good non conference opponents. If one gets lucky and has an upset and runs the table in the conference, another Northern Illinois scenario can play out.

  4. Bob from Account Temps
    January 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Other than an astonishing lack of vision, what would prevent the MWC from going after additional Big East schools — say, Houston, Memphis, Cincinnati and one other (SMU, Tulane, Tulsa or ???) Sounds like UConn leaving is a done deal eventually and that leaves Cincy and a bunch of C-USA schools. I may be wrong but it seems to me that the MWC can offer a whole lot more stability to those schools than the nBE can.

    • SJGMoney
      January 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      UConn would love to leave but their hoped for destinations aren’t coming. They SHOULD be using some foresight to build an alternative attractive Conference but they appear to be paralyzed.

    • Joe Crum
      January 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Where is Yukon going? Nobody wants them.

      • Bob from Account Temps
        January 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm

        Where is UConn going? Dunno. If the MWC expanded east, I don’t expect that they would expand that far east. But maybe. If not, and if they go into the C-7 for their Olympic sports, then I suppose UConn would have to join the MAC or go Indy — assuming that the nBE wouldn’t let them stay for football only.

        From the standpoint of the MWC expanding, however, that is not their concern. The bigger question might be where does everybody else go? CBS quotes the Big XII commish as saying that they may go proactive…

    • Fin
      January 26, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      I think the biggest asset the BE has is the Boise State rules in the MWC. It looks a lot like the MWC member schools want to sit and see what their payouts are like. Strategically it may be a suspect move if Houston is really thinking about the MWC, but it looks like the MWC schools don’t want to add travel costs and cut their small pie even further without seeing what they have.

      I think that bodes well for the nBE.

  5. Jeff
    January 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I wish I had a crystal ball so I could avoid this continuing state of flux, and just cut to the chase. Right now it s….s to be a UConn fan. Losing every good basketball rivalry with a football program that appears to be just spinning its wheels…

  6. Cougar Fan
    January 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Any comment you might have on MWC still pursuing Houston, SMU?

  7. Curious
    January 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I think commissioner Areasco is at point where he needs to finish TV negotiations, which being currently unknown and highly runoured ( pick a dollar figure anyone anyone??) isnt helping the other schools feel very secure. Once done he can then try to go out and try to land expansion candidates. Cant negotiate if you dont have the TV contracts as some support – whatever they may be once settled.

    • SJGMoney
      January 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Yet he can’t finalize any TV contracts because he can’t tell the networks who is in the league. What a catch-22 eh? The BIg East was cooked the minute they turned down the offer from ESPN a year and change ago. Turned out it was a slow rotisserie but they were on the grill nonetheless.

      • Fin
        January 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

        I think history will not strongly support this view (History tends to be revisionist). When you look at the nBE, most of the schools are former CUSA schools. All of those schools are likely to see a $1-2 M raise, so for most of the nBE, it actually is an improvement.

        When you look at the teams that turned down ESPN, most of the football schools are making more than they turned down. The basketball schools may be making less, but it seems like they have landed in a spot they like.

        There are only unquestionable losers in this turn of realignment: Uconn, Cinci, and USF.

        Any shift in the ACC could push 1 to all 3 of them into the ACC.

        Even if the BE had taken ESPN’s offer, that deal would have been renegotiated down several times by now with the changing membership. There is every reason to believe that ESPN would have raked them over the coals after every loss. In fact there is no guarantee the conference wouldn’t have the same membership today, but be forced to take a bad offer from ESPN.

  8. Guy
    January 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I’m totally surprised!

  9. fighting muskie
    January 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    UMass is not ready to play football in the new Big East. The nBE needs to add for quality now and let UMass have a few years to build their program in the MAC. UTSA wouldn’t be a bad add–sure they are a young program but they are far ahead of UMass right now.

    East–UConn, Temple, Cincinnati, ECU, UCF, USF
    West–Memphis, Tulane, Houston, SMU, Tulsa, UTSA

    • SJGMoney
      January 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      UTSA is way ahead of UMass? Because they had one more win against FBS schools? Or becsue they beat a NAIA school?

  10. SJGMoney
    January 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    In other surprising news, the Sun rose in the East this morning. Somebody with the experience and credentials that Blauds has should have saw this and wrote about it the day Boise decided to un-join. Actually he should have wrote it beforehand as it was very clear that Boise wasn’t coming. Instead he regurgitated lines thrown at him by the delusional Big East brass that SD State was still coming etc.

    My serious question to Mark is, why didn’t you write this? You had to know it was coming, are you afraid to lose sources? If so, what is the purpose of this blog? You lose credibility when you just parrot what you’re told instead of using your own brain to follow the logical path here. This decision by SD State was a foregone conclusion a while ago, read the comments on your post when Boise left, it was obvious to me and plenty of others, yet for the last couple of weeks you went back and forth on it. Those of us that read this blog do so for your experience and insight, is it still there?

    • Mark
      January 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      I did write it. I also wrote what the Big East was trying to do to keep san diego state. I also wrote the reaction to the moves. and then I wrote what the big east planned to do to keep things going. Shooting the messenger. If you read everything I write you will find all of the statements of doubt that you now bring up.

    • Mark
      January 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      I also wrote that UConn was looking at joining the catholic 7 as well. that is parroting the big east?

    • Mark
      January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      and where has anyone written that the big east are issuing a JOINT statement, which is off the charts weird from a conference NOT getting a team.

      • SJGMoney
        January 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Mark, you started off the year by saying Boise and SD State were still coming even though I think a good many people who aren’t nearly as connected as you were thinking the opposite. Then when Boise decided to not come, you (correctly) predicted SD State wasn’t far behind them. But then you began to hedge, and parrot the Big East brass’ lines. If we wanted to hear that nonsense we could read the Sports Log notes on page 2 of the Globe Sports section. We come hear to get your experienced, expert opinion on things. And for the last couple of weeks all you did was repeat the nonsense that SD State was still going to join. You had to know the Big East was delusional in thinking this, and while I don’t expect you to call the Commish delusional I, and others who choose to read you blog, do expect and hope you will give us your opinion. As for UConn and this joint release, good job. You’re right, I haven’t seen that anywhere else. Which goes back to my point above – that is why come here. I want more honest, truthful thoughts from A Jersey Guy. Like your post after Boise decided not to come and you proclaimed the BE to be dead. That came from A Jersey Guy, not a pr guy.

  11. January 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    No reason to wait on ECU and Tulane. Take both and go to 12 for a conference championship.
    Then plan for a partner for navy to maintain twelve teams when Louisville and Rutgers leave

  12. Bob from Account Temps
    January 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Rats. Another correction: BYU or Boise. And if they both wanted to sign on then great — you can add somebody else in the east.. God willing, I am done with my corrections…

  13. Bob from Account Temps
    January 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Adding two teams is a western strategy. If they had gone for a legitimate western strategy, they could have easily had one — and eliminated the MWC in the process. Try this…

    Western Division
    Air Force & New Mexico
    Fresno State & San Diego State
    Houston & SMU
    Nevada & UNLV

    Eastern Division
    Cincinnati & Memphis
    ECU & Navy
    UConn & Temple
    South Florida & UCF

    There, problem solved. Not only do you have a much stronger football conference but you have a kick ass basketball conference and the MWC is toast.

    What is wrong with the nBE’s leadership?

    • Bob from Account Temps
      January 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Correction: Adding two teams is NOT a western strategy.

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