1. Syracuse and Pittsburgh have abandoned the Big East, and outrage at their disloyalty is easy to summon. The CEOs of the two schools couldn’t have sounded clumsier than they did on an ACC conference call Sunday morning. But outrage and loyalty are luxuries that the schools can’t afford. “There’s a climate out there where every institution is looking out for itself right now,” Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross told The Syracuse Post-Standard on Saturday. That’s as distasteful as it is true.
2. The Big East came to life in 1979 as a basketball conference made up largely of Catholic schools in big markets on I-95. The league adopted football some two decades ago, hitching its wagon to the star power of Miami and signaling the surging power of the autumn sport. However the league didn’t stay together long enough to develop football tradition. The departure of Syracuse and Pitt deals Big East basketball tradition a severe blow. But basketball hasn’t driven the bus in major college athletics for years.
3. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch takes on the NCAA and the state of college athletics in the October cover story of The Atlantic. Branch deconstructs the collegiate athletic model with simplicity and a mountain of evidence. He writes why the NCAA won’t withstand judicial scrutiny. To paraphrase James Carville, it’s the Ed O’Bannon case, stupid. O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a suit that charges the NCAA may not sell the likenesses of former student-athletes to the likes of EA Sports without compensation. Logical? Yes. About to change the world as we know it? That, too.