Big East mailbag

Enjoy the weekend, folks!

Joel in Florida writes: I think the new Big East has real potential that many are not seeing yet. But in time, a Memphis with its basketball, a Houston with both and a UCF-USF rivalry with those size markets, could be better than they currently have or had. No real big rivalry existed in BE. UCF and USF provide that. My question, what do you hear about how the Big East and TV deal are going to build this rivalry up for the conference benefit?? Rivalries can save a conference. These are the No. 6 and No. 2 size schools in the country!

Andrea Adelson: Joel, While I appreciate your unbridled enthusiasm for the UCF-USF rivalry, I do want to point out that the Big East has had a way bigger, way more nationally relevant rivalry in its past. Does the Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt ring any bells? Let me also point out that the Keg of Nails game between Cincinnati and Louisville has gone on for way longer than any rivalry UCF and USF currently have, a rivalry that is what, four games old? Now having said that, I do agree this is the best rivalry the Big East has moving forward. But I disagree with your contention that rivalries save a conference. I mean the Texas A&M-Texas rivalry did not save that conference from changing membership, nor did the the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, to name two examples. I am not sure there is language in the contract that specifically outlines how the Big East should promote this rivalry, but I do believe it would benefit the conference to market this game aggressively, and put it in a marquee spot on the schedule. But it takes time to build a rivalry that grabs the national spotlight. Both teams need to start being big-time national players before folks outside Florida start really paying attention.

Eric in Cincinnati writes: Any idea when the Big East football schedule will be released for this fall?

Adelson: Last I heard the hope was next week, but nothing is set in stone.

John in the Ville writes: I read your column most everyday Andrea and enjoy your work. I think it is important to point out that Jeremy Wright did graduate in December from UofL. He is the first in his family to do obtain a college degree I am told. It is not clear if he will enroll in graduate school somewhere and play in the fall or start his post college life. I understand he is back home in Florida.

Adelson: Thank you, John. You were not the only one to write into the mailbag this week asking for me to clarify that Wright has graduated. I omitted that detail from the post I wrote this week on the Cardinals' running back situation, saying only that he was not enrolled in classes. We wish Wright all the best in his future endeavors.

Justin in Cincinnati writes: Andrea, I was hoping you would add one more item to what's next on the agenda for the Big East. Making the departing schools pay up. Have any of the departing schools paid the exit fee? Last I read was that every school hasn't paid yet, including West Virginia. Will the Big East ever see any of the exit fees? This could be a big boost for the remaining schools who will lose out on only getting $2 million a year in TV money. I would imagine Cincy would be happy to use some of the money on its upgraded Nippert. Is there any talk in even distributing the money to the schools or would the Big East keep it to use for the rebuilding the Big East?

Adelson: This also was a popular question in the mailbag this week. The Big East has not distributed all the exit fee money yet, and from what I have been told, it is a complicated process that will take some time. Let's not forget, there is going to be incoming money from the basketball schools leaving, from Notre Dame leaving, and from a possible sale of the actual Big East name. Then they will have to figure out a way to distribute all this wealth, when you have schools that have been a party to all these problems and incoming schools that are just joining the party. So you see why nothing has quite been accomplished in this respect. I do not think they are going to snap their fingers and all of a sudden distribute the money. But yes, the financial windfalls that are coming should help boost schools that are going to take a loss with the new TV deal.