Friday Sports Briefs: Big East Edition

UConn FlagAs conference alignment continues to shake out, it is becoming increasingly clear that UConn is on the outside looking in.  Despite the many successes of the university’s basketball and football teams, UConn remains a member of the Big East – a conference which is unlikely to last through the weekend – without any appealing alternatives.

Catholic Schools to Bolt Big East

The Big East’s basketball-only Catholic schools,  (Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul and Marquette) are on the verge of leaving the conference.  Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant, who has provided excellent coverage of UConn’s conference plight, has the story:

When the Big East conference was born as a regional basketball league in 1979, the University of Connecticut was among seven charter members.

But as the smoke around the conference clears from a dizzying stretch of expansion and realignment, UConn could be the last original member standing in a conference of diminished importance.

That’s because the Big East, in its current form, is on the verge of extinction based on reports that seven non-football members are leaving. The reason, according to the reports, is the teams would prefer to be in a conference with stronger basketball programs.

Catholic Schools Fight Back

ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil writes that it is about time that the Big East’s Catholic schools stand up for themselves.  She also opines that the Big East’s recent moves to add schools has done nothing but dilute the brand:

As the Big East continues to bastardize its product, adding schools that offer FBS football teams, if not competitive ones, and basketball programs, if not traditional or successful ones, those schools are only hurting their name brands anyway. As the Big East continues to bastardize its product, adding schools that offer FBS football teams, if not competitive ones, and basketball programs, if not traditional or successful ones, those schools are only hurting their name brands anyway.

Big East Let it Slip Away

Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant writes that the Big East is the cause of its own demise, and that UConn has hit rock bottom:

It doesn’t get any lower for the UConn brand. When Seton Hall, DePaul and Providence tell you to get lost, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the conference realignment barrel.

Two years removed from a third national basketball championship … two years removed from a BCS Bowl appearance … three years removed from a seventh women’s basketball national championship with the prospects of a couple more on the horizon … yet today it feels as if even the Patriot League would tell the Huskies ‘thanks but no thanks.’

Where Does UConn Go From Here?

Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post lists the potential scenarios for UConn’s conference affiliation.  Duffy also writes that UConn fans have the right to panic, as UConn’s options seem to lead to UConn becoming a mid-major:

In the current landscape, it’s difficult to imagine UConn football ever becoming  anything more than a good mid-major (after all, the Huskies are in a mid-major football league now). Problem is, they’re in a mid-major basketball league, too, and that’s just not right. Now, UConn must begin damage control. It must turn a  terrible situation into something more manageable (but still pretty bad).

Also, check out Mark Blaudschun’s A Jersey Guy blog, where he discusses UConn’s options.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

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