On life support, but not quite dead, the Big East Conference continues to be eulogized by those who remember when the league thrived.
Syracuse Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim is the latest to lament about what appears to be the pending death of the Big East. At least the death of the Big East he loved.
Boeheim, around when the league was born, talked about how sad it is to see the conference wasting away, a shell of its former self.
“We were in a good league, and then a great league, and a great league, and pretty good, then it was great, then it was good, then it was great and now it’s something different,” Boeheim said after the Orange defeated South Florida Bulls. “It changes all the time. It’s not the same. If it was the same and we were leaving, I wouldn’t leave. I would have just retired.”
Syracuse, a charter member of the Big East, is leaving the league to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. Following the Orange from the Big East to the ACC, will be the Pittsburgh Panthers, Louisville Cardinals and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who will participate in all sports except football.
In the past two years the Big East has lost several members, invited others and had some who accepted an invitation, withdraw from the conference before officially joining. Even Boeheim, the dean of Big East coaches, finds it hard to keep track.
“It’s Houston and SMU and you can’t even name all the teams that are going to be there and when they’re going to be there,” Boeheim said. “It’s not the same.”
Earlier this year Boeheim said he wanted to maintain some of the league rivalries, like the one with the Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown coach John Thompson III shared his desire to maintain the rivalry.
”The Georgetown-Syracuse tradition — it’s more than a rivalry. It’s a tradition,” said Thompson. “It has been a part of the fabric of this conference.”
Merlisa blogs about Big East Conference basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa