Just six days ago, it seemed as if the Villanova football program was getting a raw deal from the Big East Conference, which is seeking its 10th football-playing member after adding the TCU Horned Frogs in November. Now, as time passes and people inside the Big East begin to leak information, it's becoming clearer that 'Nova's pitch the conference was not very convincing.
"According to one person in the room that day, the presentation didn't go well, for a very specific reason," wrote Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer Monday. "Villanova's president, the Rev. Peter Donahue, gave more an explanation of where things stood than a sales pitch. If he wasn't going to be a real advocate, it was natural for his brethren to wonder where the former drama professor really stood. Were they supposed to get excited about 'Nova joining them if 'Nova's president couldn't?"
"Essentially, the Big East switched their view on Villanova from "we really want you" to "show us why we should take you." But from all accounts, this was never made clear to Villanova. So they entered that March meeting with more of a "here's how we're going to make it happen" approach when they should have been really trying to sell themselves to the Big East - and not just from a stadium perspective, but also showing the conference how excited they were to join.'
In fairness to the Wildcats, the league did make an informal invitation to 'Nova soon after TCU was brought into the league. So, it is understandable that in preparation for the March meeting with the Big East bigwigs Villanova thought the cat was in the bag.
However, this doesn't excuse the 'Nova brass for being ill-prepared to sell their product to the league, especially knowing that there were some schools that didn't like the idea of adding a team from the FCS.
In the battle of public relations, score a point for the Big East, which needs a lot more wins to gain back its credibility.