Those of you who missed the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” need not worry.
Just turn your attention to the Big East and you’ll be fully caught up.
The Big Ten’s decision to add Maryland to its ranks starting in 2014 has started a chain reaction which can be felt from the America’s Heartland to as far north as New Jersey. New Brunswick to be more precise.
That’s because Rutgers is reportedly being courted to join Maryland in its move to the Big Ten.
The move is part of an expansion ploy by Jim Delany and the Big Ten as it positions itself for a bigger and better media rights deal in the future. Maryland and Rutgers provide access to television markets in Washington D.C. and New York which means more eyes on the Big Ten Network. It all translates into more money and wider recruiting access.
Maryland’s departure means the ACC has a whole to fill.
A hole that could possibly be filled with the help of the Big East. Connecticut and Louisville are attractive possible additions to the ACC. They would join the likes of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame who have all agreed to join the league in the near future. The Panthers and Orange will join in all sports while Notre Dame will join in all sports except football.
This latest conference realignment movement has been a reoccurring theme for the Big East.
After losing West Virginia and TCU to the Big 12, league officials worked overtime to build up its future membership adding schools like UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis, Boise State, San Diego State, Temple and Navy in the offseason. Starting in 2015, the league would have been 13 members strong with the possibility of adding another member possibly Air Force.
Now that appears in jeopardy with the possibility of losing Rutgers, Connecticut or Louisville. Then there are the new members who won’t officially join the league until July 2013. Reports are schools like Houston may be able to exit from the deal without being forced to pay an exit fee. Boise State already seemed to be on the fence about joining the Big East so you have to wonder how officials are feeling now.
It was those moves officials hoped would make the Big East an attractive option as it began negotiation a new television deal. The league was riding high. So much so it passed on an agreement by ESPN to start negotiating with other networks for a better deal.
With all of this recent news, you wonder if Big East officials aren’t kicking themselves for not taking ESPN’s deal. It’s going to be a hard sell to a network like Fox or NBC that you still have a viable product especially when there is so much uncertainty in the league. It would appear to me that the networks now have the upper hand on these negotiations.
Time and time again when the Big East has appeared to be left for dead, the league has managed to survive. Something tells me that this time may be different.
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