No matter what the seven Catholic schools decide this week, the Big East Conference is finished.
Instead of the slow painful death many suspected the conference would endure, the demise could come quickly.
As reported here, the Catholic schools are seriously thinking of leaving as a group and one source told USA Today the move is imminent.
Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco has reportedly been on the phone desperately trying to hold the conference together. But even if Aresco manages to delay the departure of the Catholic programs, it’s over. And if the seven walk, it is because as marquee programs left and less established institutions joined, the non-FBS schools were treated second class.
The discontent that the non-football focused schools have toward the football schools has reached the point of no return. Fed up with being dismissed, devalued and disrespected, the Catholic schools joined forces in an effort to secure their programs.
Some of these schools, like Georgetown, have proud academic as well as sports traditions. They have spent years establishing relationships with like-minded institutions, only to have newcomers, such as Boise State dictate terms.
Many will blame the rise of football as the culprit behind the destruction of such a storied basketball conference. But football is only a sport. Blame administrators: presidents, athletic directors, trustees and members of boards. These people decided to ignore years of tradition, rivalries and memories to chase football dollars.
In their reach for what could be, these administrators tarnished what was.
Leagues and alliances withstand departures all the time. But who did the Big East in? Not those who left. It was how the league treated the ones left behind.
No contracts, exit fees or attempts to revamp and renew can save the league from its inevitable death. R.I.P. Big East. Was fun while it lasted.
Merlisa blogs about Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa