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.