A big chunk of our conversation on the blog this week has been spent discussing what the league formerly known as the Big East should call itself.
ESPN.com columnist Brett McMurphy unveiled his bold idea Friday: The league should sell its name. McMurphy writes:
Instead of America 12, how about something more, well, American? And there's nothing as American as good old capitalism.
That's exactly why the league should sell its name.
The conference "Formerly Known As The Big East" should seek the big bucks. It wouldn't be a sellout -- it would be a trendsetter.
Sure, no Division I-A league has done it before, but it's only a matter of time. Remember when college athletics was about tradition? That was before bowl games were named for restaurants, weed trimmers and websites. The toothpaste has long been out of the tube on that one, and there's no turning back.
McMurphy brings up some excellent points. Tradition is gone. Now, many more schools are selling off naming rights to their stadiums. Rutgers and Louisville have done so for their on-campus stadiums. So has UCF. Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock has said though the Nippert Stadium name is not for sale, he will be looking for naming rights opportunities for the renovated building. Every single bowl game has a major sponsor. Conference championship games are sponsored. So what if a league turns to a sponsor for a name?
Then, of course, there is the television money factor. As in, the Big East is not going to be getting anywhere close to the dollars that the five conferences ahead of it are from its new television deal. One huge way to close the game -- sponsorship of the league name. That would make a much heftier deposit into athletic departments' bank accounts.
It may never fly, but McMurphy's idea is the type of forward thinking that the Big East has rarely embraced. There is no better time than now to flip the script and become a leader.