It has been over a week since Syracuse and Pitt bolted the Big East for the ACC. So what exactly is the plan to keep this league intact?
Would you believe it includes staying out of areas where the Big East already has a team? USF president Judy Genshaft said Tuesday during a legislative meeting on her campus that the Big East wants to look outside footprint areas when asked specifically whether she was blocking UCF from the league.
"I am not stopping any university from coming in," Genshaft said, according to The St. Petersburg Times. "What is happening is the league, or the conference, now is looking at schools and they have looked very much at schools that are not in any of the states that are represented by the Big East schools right now. The ones that they're looking at right now, they do not sit in any state that the Big East schools currently are in."
If Genshaft is right, this plan makes absolutely no sense. The Big East needs to add quality institutions at this point that bring value to a future television contract. Why would it just eliminate schools from contention because they are in a state that already has a Big East school? Look across the other AQ conferences -- yes, every single one of them has multiple schools from the same state. In the case of UCF and Houston, for example, those two cities are separate markets from Tampa (USF) and Fort Worth (TCU). Simply put, they might be in the same state, but they certainly are not in the same cities.
One other part of the article in the St. Petersburg Times struck me. The newspaper asked Genshaft after the session whether she supports UCF entering the Big East. Her reply: "That isn't the question now."
Maybe not, but it should be one of them as soon as the Big East can figure out how to shore up its membership. Navy, high on the list of candidates, is not going to do anything until the Big East solidifies its member schools. You figure Air Force feels the same way. That is not going to be so easy, with the Big 12 set to add at least one more school, and UConn all but begging to join the ACC.
Perhaps Genshaft already is confirming what we already suspect -- that Navy and Air Force are the preferred candidates. Neither are in a state that already has a Big East school. Both have quality football programs, and both would be football-only members. Still, if one or both balk, the Big East has to keep all options open.