The further the Big East Conference moves away from adding the Villanova football program as its 10th football-playing member, the more it seems as if the league's men's basketball landscape will change, and it could be drastic.
"... How does Big East basketball absorb new schools? The answer is that it doesn’t," wrote Mark Blaudschun of Boston Globe on Wednesday. "Expansion would probably force the seven non-football basketball members of the Big East — DePaul, Marquette, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova, Providence, and St. John’s — to consider breaking off into their own conference. According to sources within the conference, however, that would be a last resort."
That last resort didn't seem possible a few months ago when 'Nova, which is already a member in basketball and many other sports was informally invited to join the conference' at the FBS level just a few days after the TCU Horned Frogs committed to the Big East, but now it seems very possible.
"While everyone in the Big East would prefer to add a school for football such as Notre Dame or Penn State, those options do not exist,' wrote Kevin McNamara of The Providence Journal on Wednesday. " Instead, middle-of-the-road programs like Central Florida or Houston are alternatives that would bring existing infrastructure, coaching staff and football history many levels above that of Villanova."
"However, the so-called "basketball schools" like Providence, Georgetown and St. John’s have no appetite to cut another far-flung school into college sports’ largest partnership."
Now, if the Big East decided to add a school such as UCF, Houston, ECU or Memphis, which are all rumored to be candidates to fill the conference's final slot, then it increases the league's football programs to 10, but men's basketball increases to 18 teams, an absurd number.
Another issue that will need to be settled is the conference television contract with ESPN that's set to expire in 2012. One of the reasons the Big East added TCU was for the TV market of Dallas-Forth Worth, which would increase the dollar value of the conference. Now, if UCF is added and there are now 10 football members bringing in more money and paying for the other seven school's athletic programs. I doubt that those 10 schools will be happy that their dollars spent on its football programs aren't earning more of a percentage of the TV money than those colleges that aren't. Thus, creating friction and a possible split.
As a fan of the Big East Conference, I would not like to see this happen. However, money talks and is the only thing that college presidents and conference commissioners care about. Just ask the Big Ten and Big 12.
Come back to SB Nation New York for more updates on this situation.