It’s open season on the Big East Conference. With the pending announcement that the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will join the Big Ten Conference in 2014, the Big East’s revolving door is set to spin again.
Once the proud basketball conference of the East, the conference is becoming a punchline, a joke with members jumping ship and other “lesser” programs waiting in line to get in.
And this could not have come at a worse time for the Big East, currently in negotiations for a new television deal.
After losing charter members Pitt and Syracuse to the Atlantic Coast Conference and West Virginia to the Big 12 Conference, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco tried to steady this sinking ship by adding Boise State and other football-focused teams.
But the assault continues. Not only is the Big East losing Rutgers to the Big Ten, but Maryland’s departure from the ACC leaves a vacancy. Big East schools South Florida, Louisville and Connecticut are reportedly already auditioning for the spot.
Some will point to the Big East’s small exit fee — only $10 million compared to $50 million for the ACC. But that $50 million didn’t stop Maryland, a charter member of the ACC, from bolting to a Mid-western conference.
Of course television money is driving this runaway locomotive and the Big East looks more like a train wreck everyday.
How does this impact commitments by newly committed schools like Boise State? Remember how quickly TCU withdrew from the conference when they learned of West Virginia’s departure?
Make no mistake, after Rutgers exits that revolving door is taking at least one other school with it. How many more exits can the Big East absorb before the door closes on its future?
Merlisa blogs about Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa