Mailbag Dec.7: Stop Trying To Place Football, Protect Hoops

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Q: Des, I have a disturbing observation that I haven’t heard anyone mention anywhere and I have a potential solution to consider: 1. Disturbing Observation Everyone keeps saying, “No worries UConn, conference realignment is far from over, you’ll get an invite at some point.” However, I haven’t heard anyone mention that with Louisville’s acceptance into the ACC, the “Power Five” conferences now have exactly 64 teams. I would agree that conference realignment is far from done, but could it be that the 64 teams which will move around are already selected? If so, then #65 is UConn and we end up with our noses pressed against the glass door with the “Closed” sign on it. 2. Potential Solution I think it may be time to stop trying to place our football program into a premier conference (after one last check on the Big Ten) and begin spending more time thinking about how to protect our basketball programs. I haven’t heard anyone suggest this potential solution: why not have UConn approach the ACC and ask to be considered as a member in all sports EXCEPT football. This would be a win/win for all. For the ACC, they get balanced scheduling in their non-football sports as UConn and Notre Dame would be teams 15 and 16, they get a premier basketball program, they secure their “safety school” in case ND ever does join the football league, and they completely secure the NY market. For UConn, they actually upgrade their non-football programs, secure the basketball programs, build relationships with the ACC schools which can only help them in future realignment, and generate more revenue for the athletic program. To make this happen, UConn might have to accept a smaller piece of the ACC TV money, but it would still beat whatever Mike Aresco can negotiate for a watered-down Big East. I’d love your thoughts…maybe someone is thinking along these lines but I haven’t seen it anywhere and it is time to start thinking out of the box before it is too late. With the threat of the Catholic schools dissolving the Big East, UConn reduced to Conference USA and/or Atlantic 10 would be devastating after so many years of progress. Andre, Tarriffville, CT

A: Football drives the bus in college athletics. That is how and why schools are moving, because of the number of subscribers conferences can gain by adding their product to solid television markets. It’s not even about the product on the field or on the court, whether they win or lose, i.e. Rutgers basketball and football program that has yet to win the Big East with all the hoopla surrounding it but Rutgers is near New York, right, TV market. I’d be interested to hear what others have to say about the rest but the answer is not dismissing football my friend. It’s the engine driving the bus in college athletics – like it or not. And as far as hitting the mark already, I can’t imagine Boise State, for example, being left out of that equation.

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23 thoughts on “Mailbag Dec.7: Stop Trying To Place Football, Protect Hoops

  1. Dan

    Andre’s idea should not be entirely dismissed. ACC basketball money will come close to what we would get as an all-in member in the Big East. This would also secure our spot as team # 16 in ACC football if Notre Dame goes all-in as # 15. The major hurdles would be that going football independent would require UConn to negotiate it’s own TV deal and bowl tie-ins. Scheduling top teams may also prove to be difficult — but maybe an upgrade over the big east schedule. UConn might be able to get ESPN to air one national game a year and the balance of games could be shown on SNY (probably getting us more money in total than what the Big East would offer). I still don’t think that’s enough TV exposure though — we need at least 3 games nationally televised a year and maybe with the right scheduling it could happen. The bowl tie-in would be much more difficult to attain and this would be a stopper. Remember going 9-3 with Danny O when we were an Indy? We didn’t go bowling…

    We just need to sit tight and start winning. We need better product on the field and fans need to come early and come often and keep their butts in the seats until the end.

  2. Jay

    Football is the financial driver. This is a fallacy. we lost money on just about every bowl we attended. we have expended well over 100 million(Uconn, Athletic dept, state of ct) and are losing 4million in operating costs at the rent each year. The league is now USA conf. and I hope big 12 doesn’t invite Boise and cincy. When choosing sides of a back yard game we are the last ones picked. Our attendance is is fast decline(this obama/bush recession has some of the cause)but we don’t support footbal with the passion of basketball.

  3. Publicus

    I’m surprised that no one noticed the fallacy of the numbers that 64 teams in 5 power conferences is the ideal number. 64/5 = 12.8. That is hardly an optimal number. Every analysis I’ve read says that ultimately the power conferences will have 16 teams each. That’s 80 teams, which would leave 15 teams to be determined. Of course, if the ACC fails because it’s horrible in football, then that would leave 4 power conferences, and 16×4 does equal 64.

    1. Nick

      The 64 teams wouldn’t be in 5 conferences, the consensus all along has been 4 power conferences of 16 teams each (64 teams total). So that would mean that those 64 teams are included and we would be on the outside looking in.

      1. Publicus


        Please read befoe responding, That’s exactly what I said above. The first part of my response was regarding the premise that 5 conferences with 64 teams was already set.

  4. buddy

    I think it is now clear to all of us that UConn is not going anywhere. The AD has decided to let UConn founder on the rocky shores. As long as he gets his money and vacations that’s all that really matters. The future of UConn is very grim at this point. As they said on ESPN, the athletic department is in chaos. Poor coach in football, interim coach in basketball who will ultimately be the fall guy for a program he inherited that is in disarray due to the negligence and arrogance of the former head basketball coach. Very sad indeed. If you all think next year will be different on the football field, you are sadly mistaken.

  5. Swami

    Easy Jerk. Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box even if the idea is faulty. How bout we just get Kevin Ollie a real contract so BBall can recruit. There is no reason to wait on that. It’s simple and obvious. Only reason to hold back if you’re Warde is if Hathaway sent you here. Ollie has things to offer that we could not get from Jim Calhoun.

    On football the task is more daunting but UConn should be looking for a young, dynamic black coach. Like Kevin.

      1. Navin R. Johnson

        I can’t take anymore of the b-ball talk on the football blog. Enough with Kevin Ollie.

        I like the guy from Kent State. He’s the next black coach to get a nice job somewhere decent. I’d like it to be here at Connecticut. The way he wears his hat os cool too.

        1. TheJerk

          WTH is “dynamic black coach” mean? Next thing you know Navin will be looking for a motivating greek coach, or me looking for a sharp witted polish coach.

          Back to the original spot…. Thinking outside the box only works if you are on of the power players in CFB. We are not. But the question from Andre only shows the lack of understanding that seems to plague most uconn fans

  6. rich

    Personally, I don’t like it. I don’t think UConn hoops is in any danger. Unlike football, every college program CAN make the Tournament so regardless of conference, UConn can fall back on it’s history, win any conference they’re in and make Tournament runs and continue solid recruiting. Assuming of course, they’re eligible for postseason play. I think hoops money will be there as long as UConn is competitive and the hoops money pales in comparison to the football dough.

  7. roberttherugguyraleigh

    If #65 is winning it does not matter that you are #65, also, ticket sales a larger revenue producer than most of us realize, thus as Des sez, “Football drives the bus”.

  8. TheJerk

    you wanna know why nodody else has mentioned your idea? because it is impossible thats why. So many things you mentioned do not make and fiscal sense. You obviously have not a clue have things are working today in NCAA world. I usually dont blast people on here, but this one is so far off base I had to respond.

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