At the Chicago college basketball media day, DePaul coach Oliver Purnell made a joke at the podium about announcing a new additions to a new super-conference that was planning on adding more teams in the near future.
We in the media appreciated his jab at the chaotic landscape that is conference realignment/expansion. And again at the DePaul media luncheon, Purnell was asked about the current game of musical chairs being played. And the Big East is feeling the effects harder than anyone else.
“These are crazy times, it’s happened before it’s just happening very quickly, and now it seems there’s a race,” Purnell said.
West Virginia just left a couple days ago for the Big 12. Pittsburgh and Syracuse left for the ACC. There’s rumors Rutgers and UConn could follow suit.
“There’s some influences in college basketball that aren’t very academic in nature- namely dollars and television, and they’re driving this train right now with the fulcrum of football, no question about it. I think it’s happening much too quickly. I like regional rivalries and those kinds of things, but this was bound to happen when you have outside forces pressing on college athletics,” he elaborated.
Can’t disagree with that statement. This is all about the dollars generated from television; and that comes only from college football. Basketball is an afterthought- even in the Big East, the nation’s premier conference. It won’t be a super-conference anymore.
Purnell addressed how it affects the local Vincentian school in Lincoln Park.
“When I went to Clemson there were nine teams, I was there six months and then all of a sudden there’s twelve. I’ve seen this before, as far as our program is concerned, DePaul is going to be in an excellent basketball league.”
Obviously that roster doesn’t impress to the point that you believe the league will continue to be an 8 bid league come tournament time. And the level of football will like stay pretty weak.
So what does Notre Dame (basketball, not football) think of all the shuffling?
“I’m concerned there’s no doubt about it. The Big East has been great for our basketball program; that connection back to the east is important, playing in the corridor and having the (Madison Square) Garden (for the conference tournament) is important,” he said.
The new landscape of conference realignment pays little to no attention to geographic sense. There seem to be no geo-bonds at all among the new formation of conferences. ND is a Midwestern school, but in the Eastern time zone, so they kind of have a bond with both.
“We’ve been through one reconstruction and it looked pretty bleak 6 years ago. I’m hopeful that we can keep the Big East together, and if we can’t then I hope we can still have something in the east, the east is really important. It’s just amazing that it’s happening during the academic year,” Brey continued.
And new recruits do ask about it.
“You have to speak to it,” Brey continued.
“Whatever happens we’re going to land on our feet, I think they’re some other schools that don’t have what we bring to the table that could be squirming a bit. The recruits that come here know that they’re coming for the overall Notre Dame experience and the league thing is a secondary thing, and we’ve had to address it.”
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.