- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
SNYDER: Big East pays price for abandoning its values
Question of the Day
The Big East’s chickens haven’t come home to roost. They’ve come back to destroy the place, ripping off the ceiling, knocking down the walls and smashing up the foundation. They’ve come home and created a shambles, just like the Big East has decimated Conference USA, twice.
As the old saying goes, what goes around can kick your behind on the return trip.
That’s happened Saturday, when Georgetown and six other “basketball centric” schools announced they’re breaking away from the fabled hoops league.
Once upon a time, the Big East was content to rank among the nation’s top men’s basketball conferences. Charter member Georgetown was the national runner-up in 1982 — just three years after the league formed — and won the title in 1984. The next season, three-quarters of the Final Four hailed from the conference, a feat no other league accomplished before or since.
By 1989, Seton Hall and Syracuse had reached Final Fours as well. Founding-member UConn joined the list in 1999, winning the first of its three national championships. But life wasn’t good enough for the Big East after the Huskies won the title in 2004.
Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College were headed out the door, taking most of the conference’s football credibility with them. So the league gutted Conference USA for a total of five schools, including major-football playing South Florida, Louisville and Cincinnati.
The Big East didn’t shed any tears for C-USA. Being a big-time football conference justified any means necessary. The same was true again this year, with six-pack C-USA schools on tap to join the Big East. Whatever nonfootball members like Georgetown thought, it didn’t mind because they didn’t matter.
Understandably, they don’t see the point in sticking around, especially with Cincinnati and UConn waiting by the phone, desperate for a call from the ACC or another conference on firmer footing. So, in terms of hoops, Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova have turned the Big East into the Big Least.
“The common philosophical link is not religion, said Hoyas coach John Thompson III, in reference to the seven defectors being Catholic schools. “It’s basketball. So we talk about a basketball-centric conference.”
The move makes so much sense, you wonder why it didn’t happen sooner. Guess the hoops schools could take only so much.
The impending loss of Rutgers wasn’t a big deal, as more than 20 seasons have passed since the Scarlet Knights’ last appearance in the NCCA tournament. But lame ducks Pittsburgh and West Virginia have been consistent postseason participants for a decade.
Stomaching the departure of Syracuse and Louisville, basketball aristocrats with national titles on their resumes, is difficult enough. But replacing them with the likes of Tulane and Southern Methodist, well, self-respecting hoops programs have to draw the line somewhere.
“We voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honor the history and tradition on which the Big East was established,” presidents of the seven departing institutions said Saturday in a statement. “Under the context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.”
They all represent the heart and soul of the original league, although Villanova, Depaul and Marquette weren’t there from the start (the Wildcats missed being a charter member by one season). Major football went from being an afterthought — only Syracuse and Boston College played among the founding schools — to being the overriding force behind an ill-fated expansion plan.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SNYDER: With John Wall’s return, Wizards’ blueprint beginning to unfold
- SNYDER: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL’s negligent culture
- SNYDER: Alabama’s excellence built to last under Saban
- SNYDER: Russell Wilson beats RG3 at his own game
- SNYDER: Terp tested: Turgeon has team ready to take on ACC
Latest Blog Entries
By John McAfee
- Breaking Fad: Alligators becoming the new pit bulls for drug dealers, cops say
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Obama: 2014 will be 'breakthrough year' for U.S.
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow