How does commissioner Mike Aresco and the American Atheltic Conference avoid that one?
“In tems of our conference we basically have to work to make it the best conference it can be and the chips fall where they may,” Aresco said “We want to make sure anyone in our conference feels that the conference is being well run, is maximizing their potential, which in UConn’s case is in both sports, it’s making sure the conference innovative, state of the art is well run that it’s a conference the members in it can be proud of and then there’s always issues, always currents about this and that, money. Well, let the chips fall where they may. We’re focused on the future and we’re focused on our conference. UConn has been a big part of that. Suasn [UConn president Herbst] has been very strong. She’s been a big part of what we’re trying to do. She’s been heavily involved in the name, the branding, all the decisions that we’ve made. And Warde [athletic director Warde Manuel] is one of our leading ADs. Warde is a strong AD. They and Cincinnati obviously the Big East name had been with them a long time. They like the new name. They’ve adapated to the new name. That’s important. We’re hopeful that the fan bases will understand that this is good football. We think this football conference has more potential then the old one has. “It was concentrated in the north east. We’ve got a wider footprint with some schools in big markets, football hotbeds that we think can really develop. Even Memphis is a sleeper because Memphis really putting resources into its program and they want to be good. Tulane in football, had a good football tradition and they are spending the money. They have a band new stadium. They think they’ve got the right coach. That’s a rich recruiting area let’s face it, Lousisiana and Florida, of course. And that gives UConn a chance now when UConn plays UCF now and USF to recruit key places. UConn-Cincinnati is going to be a good rivalry; UConn-Temple down the road and then UConn playing games in Texas. These are, look, it’s not like the Big 12 is going to get all the players in Texas – or Oklahoma. And Tulsa is a great addition as you know they have a long history of being good in both sports. It’s a small good, really high quality academic institution…you know, Danny Manning, new coach [in basketball] is really going to make a difference. Kevin Ollie, Danny Manning, Larry Brown [SMU] Mick Cronin [Cincinnati], go down the list. I have mentioned the Florida schools and East Carolina will build their basketball program.
“And Navy [coming in 2015 when the conference championship game comes too] everybody loves Navy. Navy coming to play UConn in football and UConn going down there will be a special game.
I also asked Aresco about East Carolina which packs a fanbase like nobody’s business, win, lose or draw and that base will travel far and wide for the Pirates. I’ve always described theirs fans as gnats – in a good way. They’re just in a frenzy about their football program. It’s fun to see and tingling to be around. Anyway…
“See, you know. You know your stuff. A lot of people don’t know this. East Carolina in bowl games that we’re in will bring a lot of people. I have a long history with Terry Holland. When I was at ESPN I did a national deal with East Carolina. East Carolina’s games were featured nationally on ESPN back in 1991 through 1995 or ’96, a five-year deal. I’ve been there 50,000 people show up. I’ve been to their spring game, 15 to 20,000 show up there. The 50,00 is a regular occurrence. The history wih Ernest Byner, Jeff Blake. It’s a great program and look at the exposure they’re going to get that they didn’t get before.”