Mailbag Jan.17: Dissolve, Indie In Football, All Others Catholic 7?

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Q: Up until June 30, I think UCONN and Cincy can control the demise of the Big East. If so, why wouldn’t they dissolve the league to get out of the $10 mill exit fee. Put all the sports with the Catholic 7, put football as independent and then when we do get called to the ACC or Big 12, then all sports get back. Saves a big exit fee and if we don’t get an invite, Conference USA or whoever would take us if we wanted – Mike, Fairfield.

A: I doubt UConn would leave its football program out like that as an independent. Maybe I’m wrong but I see no benefits to go it alone, not on the field and maybe not financially either which is the bottom line (most of their “big games” would probably be on the road). And there’s no guarantees anybody takes you so why take the risk? For now, it is what it is and the schools involved have to make it as great as it can be along with the Big East folks…

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46 thoughts on “Mailbag Jan.17: Dissolve, Indie In Football, All Others Catholic 7?

  1. Anonymous

    for the teams in football i think the pioneer football league should go bye bye and the independent too.I think we should create a conference for these catholic schools to call their own home.The same in basketball too especially the private schools as well.

  2. Matt

    For those against independent because conference games occur in October/November:


    1. Schedule 1-AA game during the middle of the season.
    2. Schedule BC on rivalry weekend in November.
    3. SEC teams continuously play OOC in October/November as a break to their schedule. Get in with 2 of those schools.
    4. BYU should have same issues
    5. ND should have same issues
    6. Navy should have same issues

    Why don’t they? Because they can negotiate and create their own schedules. UConn should be able to as well. Those are 3 quick solutions to get 3 games during October/November on the schedule. Took me 2 minutes to write. Independence will save this program. Big East playing no one all season will kill it.


    True DC.. good points too risky finacially..Just a desperate thought to want to be in total control of UCONN destiny..

  4. Cwb

    why is that people can’t see that it does no good to be without conferance the old big east is dead the acc will be decimated when big 12 takes 2 teams big 10 takes two more teams and the sec takes to teams the ACC will be destroyed and even if uconn goes to whats left it won’t be any better its time to rebuild the conferance with teams that what to get better to look for better pay days in the furture

  5. weyuo

    If independence was the way to go Navy wouldn’t be joining the new Big East football conference. There are 4 of such schools left in college football and only 2 are trying to remain independent. Everyone else is trying to get into a conference. And, if BYU can work out a deal with the PAC-12 or Big-12 so that none of their sports play on Sunday(part of their religion) they would already be in one of those conferences. So really the only school that wants to remain independent is Notre Dame.

    UConn is a babe in the woods as far as football tradition goes. The Huskies need to be in a conference. They need to win their conference championships. They need to go to bowl games and win there, beat stronger out of conference opponents, get ranked on a consistent basis and eventually be considered for a spot in whatever national championship playoff system the future brings. None of that will happen with an independent UConn football program. BYU is having a hard time getting more than 11 games a year. And they have tradition and a national reputation going for them.

    Besides, the new Big East football conference is not going to be as weak as some may think. Houston, USF & UCF all have 4 star athletes committed to this upcoming class. SMU made it to a bowl last year… and won it! In Hawaii!! We need to be in a bowl in Hawaii. What a nice 3 or 4 day vacation during the holidays that would be. Besides..the schools coming in are in good TV markets so that first TV contract might not be the greatest built sign a short term one…say 3 years and then negotiate a better one as the teams get stronger.

    Patience people…. patience. UConn just has to be patient and bide it’s time and the fan base has to do the same. No reason we can’t dominate this new league and jump out onto the national scene like Boise St and TCU have in the past.

    1. Linda

      It isn’t that the “new Big-East” is that bad in football. It isn’t. It has teams in Ohio, FLA, and TEX.

      The problem is with Basketball. Our identity is and will always be basketball first (think Duke, Indiana, Kansas, UCLA, Carolina) and who on God’s earth is excited about this new Big-East from a basketball perspective?

      We are in serious serious danger. So far conference re-alignment as been disastorous for UCONN and everyone in the nation knows it.

      1. weyuo

        Basketball wise they won’t be as strong as the ACC right off so the men will have to copy the strategy Geno uses for his non conference scheduling. Play anybody, anywhere, anytime. As long as the conference champ gets an automatic berth to the big dance they can prove themselves there just like they do now.

        Basketball doesn’t drive the bus. If it did UNC & Duke would be trying to get into the Big East. College football, the bowl system and the TV money that goes with it is dictating this madness.

    2. buddy

      It is refreshing to see a rational comment. However, patience and wait and see attitude is what got UConn into this mess to begin with. As a previous comment stated, the ACC will probably be raided and UConn if they were in that conference will be in the very same predicament all over again. Rather than being patient or hoping that the “BE” conference can rise again, the president and AD of UConn should be at this time petitioning the SEC, B1G, or Big 12 for admission and beat the others to the punch. UConn has a lot to offer and they need to be aggressively promoting themselves. The sitting duck theory that UConn has been using does not work.

  6. TorringtonM

    What is the allure of the catholic 7….tell me what Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, St. Johns, bring to the table in basketball…I don’t see it. Plus the 7 are the real reason why the BE has fallen apart as they couldn’t understand the importance of football…the footall schools should have split off several years ago and we might have a viable conference to be in now….we need to concentrate building the best all sports conference we can and be higly successful in it…living in the past of what the BE was isn’t going to get us anywhere in the future

  7. Ed Of Waterbury

    UConn and the non Catholic rump of the Big East should Merge with Conf. USA since they are pilfering members of that Conf. anyway. Leave the Catholic 7 to carry on the original intent of the Big East in name and purpose of the original purpose of the Conf. to begin with. . UConn got in the Big East because Holy Cross of Mass. declined to join the original big East to begin with.The Catholic 7 schools dropped out because to accomodate football the Conf.-Big East , lost all meaning of the Big East to end up with schools like Louisville who went from Conf. USA to the Big East to the ACC. in a few short years.

      1. Ed Of Waterbury

        Holy Cross DID decline to join the original Big East. Then the friendship you mentioned kicked in.

  8. UConn Fan in Indy

    Just throwing ideas out here and I’m sure someone floated the idea but wouldn’t the MAC Conference be better for UConn for the time being than staying in the Big East? I would think that the MAC Conference would gladly take UConn and U. of Cincinnati?

  9. Paul M

    Here is the best idea for Herbst/Manuel:

    Recruit UMASS, Army, Navy, and Temple to join in the following power-move that will protect our internationally recognized basketball programs and even set-up football for a better destination:

    1. Tell the “Caholic – 7″ that you want to forge an all-sports (except football) conference with the above additions brining the total to 12. Only Marquette and Depaul will be in the midwest (they will leave on their own eventually and can be replaced by BU and Fordam or maybe even BC if Big-12 beats out ACC as the 4th Super Conference (if FSU and UNC bolt that could easily happen).

    2. Tell Aresco that UCONN, UMASS, Army, Navy, and Temple will play in whatever “football-only” conference he organizes. Does anyone think Aresco has “any” power? Telling him is obviously easy.

    If Aresco balks, you have the nucleus for a new football only conference that is more plausible and more fun than the crap now being called the Big-East. Worse case you will easily find at least 3 more teams to get to 8. As the Big-East continues to implode there will be more “football only” options. The above nucleaus of teams (Army, Navy, UCONN, UMASS, and Temple) could easily forge ahead and creat their own conference. Better than playing Tulane, Buffalo, East Carolia.

    Negotiate and/or sue Aresco to get the Big-East name for the all-sports (except football) conference that includes Catholic 7 and UCONN (and Army, Navy, Temple and UMASS).

    Don’t forge an alliance with Cincy (as was reported) as they are likely ACC bound (you know OHio football comes before Conn football as ACC’s next move if they lose FSU). Plus, if the ACC loses FSU and UNC (to SEC, money talks), who needs them?

    From basketball viewpoint the “Original-East Conference” described above is as good or better than ACC (with great academics BTW) and covers the major markets of DC, Philly, NYC, NJ, Conn, Boston, and for the time being Chicago. Our football schedule will be as good as it has been (Army and Navy bring pageantry and tradition) and UMASS is natrual rival in the making, and we can supplement with good out of conf games. Plus, we’ll likely be able join whatever mess Aresco puts together if we want to.


    Seton Hall
    St. Johns

    The old BIG-EAST is already D-E-A-D!! Save our Hoops. There is no shame in being a “basketball school.” When are the Green Wave and the ECU Pirates coming to Gampel? Yeah team!

    1. Linda

      By far the best idea I’ve seen (assuming we can’t get into the ACC, but since when do we like the ACC).

      Leroy Jenkins adds nothing so ignore him.

    2. Lost in Transition

      I think you need to put the pipe down. This is totally ridiculous. UNtil we have an offense, I am not sure we could beat the teams in this new league let alone win it. Much has to be proven first.

  10. Mike Falko

    I like the idea of sticking with the Catholic 7 for hoops (maybe even keep the name ‘Big East’ but dissolve football) and playing independant. The way to schedule big name programs is to play games at Gilette/Meadowlands. Do 4 game contracts with teams – 2 at their place, 1 at the Rent, 1 at Gilette… I think that would be appealing to a traditional power house. Get 2 or 3 big names on the schedule each year with that strategy, establish a few rivalries with BC/Syracuse/Rutgers/Pitt/WVU… then fill in the rest of the schedule with UMass/Temple/whomever from the MAC. That could end up being a tougher schedule than anything from the Big East. The team would not be receiving the TV revenue however playing a school like USC or Ohio State at Gilette would likely be nationally televised, I’d rather be on national TV a few times each year than on the Big East network every week. Going independent could help grow the football brand.

    1. dconner Post author

      Uconn football is not going independent and it would do the complete opposite Mike as far as growing the brand. Well, it could grow the brand but not in a very flattering light. Think about why so many teams haven’t gone this route already. Think why everybody wants to be in a conference. I understand people aren’t happy with the current situation but that in no way should be a substitute for what makes sense and what doesn’t. Really think hard about what being an Independent means. I have listed many major roadblocks in that move in the comments section. If you can find ways around all that, scheduling games in October and November, when everybody is playing league games, TV contract, who is going to negotiate a deal with UConn?, budget, no guarantees to it as an Indie, you know what you’re getting in a league and can plan accordingly, that’s for starters. My guess is if you have a legitimate answer just from those you should be working for the school, lol. Seriously Mike it’s hard. It’s certainly a lot harder than just saying lets go Independent because we don’t like our situation. Can’t run a program like that.

  11. Leroy Jenkins

    According to the Jersey Guy blog, UCONN got rejected by the Catholic 7. That seems to make sense because they know that we will jump at the first offer from a real conference.

    1. dconner Post author

      He also reported initially UConn was going with Catholic 7 which wasnt correct because according to UConn it had any discussions with the group so take from it what you want I guess. Did you see that or not?

  12. Jesse

    Teams like BYU, ND, Navy and Army can be independent because of their strong national following and because of this TV execs are willing to throw money at these schools to be able to show their games on their station. This money allows for these schools to remain independent. UConn does not have the luxury of such a following at the present point in time. If UConn went independent in football, I bet there will be a bigger financial loss than staying in the Big East and leaving for whatever conference calls in the future. And to be honest, UConn has trouble filling up 5 OOC games with quality opponents willing to travel to the Rent. I’m gonna say it’s exponentially worse when it’s all 12 games.

  13. ray

    I have been saying this for weeks. Go independent in football. By keeping this football coaching staff it shows the lack of committment on the part of the University. Uconn Basketball, together with the Catholics and a couple of other strong teams can keep the magic of the Big east Tournament alive.

    1. Navin R. Johnson

      It’s not about basketball ray…it’s about football. Not being affiliated with a conference will kill the program and athletic department as a whole. It would make no money and be in the red actually.

      1. Ray

        You are right navin, but it has so frustrating with this coaching staff. Remember it was just just 3 years ago when this program placed 4 players in the first two round of the draft…..only USC was better with 5. The bsc bowl game with Oklahoma was tough, but if you remember we opened up the second half with an impressive drive that unfortunately ended in a pick 6……..this program WAS heading in the right direction, but it all ended that night


    DC…. yes there are programs that have traditions of being are correct. However, UCONN is in the embryonic stages of its career in Div 1A…so why NOT?? The easy way out is to sit where we are and wait?? Now is the time to lead our program and carve out its own pie…It could be done…Just because the current leadership explored it doesnt mean it is the right decision…To mee it depends on how hard one wants to work !!

    1. dconner Post author

      We’re in a different day now than when those programs started, right? Conference realignment, huge TV contracts, playoffs. That’s what we’re in now. This isn’t the the time to go it alone. Not for UConn. Now I mentioned earlier too the difficulty of being able to schedule games in the months of October and November with league affiliated teams playing league affiliated games were they’re getting huge league affiliated dollars through their league affiliated TV deal. With no conference affiliation you also have the issue of making your budget. With a league affiliated revenue-sharing program you have a pretty good idea of what you’ll be raking in no matter what your record is.

      Think about this: If it were such a great option why aren’t more schools going that route?


    I believe UCONN was Independent in 2002/03 ?? I’m for going independent at this point. Schedule teams from the 5 major conferences and secure a TV deal with SNY. The ability to negotiate teams like BC Rutgers Maryland,and Vanderbuilt ect will sell tickets…rating will improve. The affect will attract players that will want to play against COMPETITION from those type of conferences.The teams being amassed currently are NOT a selling point for recruits i would imagine….I guess it depends on the vision our AD has for the sport and what stage he wants the UCONN program to perform.

  16. rich

    I am certainly no expert on this matter, but I think it’s something to at least consider. Someone would have to crunch some numbers and figure out logistics, but if BYU, ND, Army and Navy can be independent, why can’t UConn? Of course, outside of ND, that’s not great football company, but maybe it’s better to control your own destiny for a change. Make your own schedule, get a local TV deal (SNY?) and win ball games. I don’t think UConn was making a great deal of football money the old way.
    Dez, I hear ya on the risk, but I’m not sure the BE is any less risky at this point. I just think it’s worth looking into.

    1. dconner Post author

      Rich – those independent programs you just named are the only ones with the tradition of being independent. UConn barely has tradition as a I-A. Also, what does UConn do in October and November when everybody is playing league games? Rivalries? What about a TV deal? I’m pretty sure it’s been looked at – thats why you’re reading what you’re reading from the President and AD about making work where they are.

      1. Publicus

        I find it laughable that anyone would advocate going independent, especially the notion of scheduling big time programs. Why would they want to play UConn? There is no incentive. They would laugh at Manuel calling them for a game. As mentioned, there are only 4 independents, and that has been a shrinking number over the years. Navy and Army are dying to get into a conference.

        1. rich

          I find it laughable that people laugh at things they don’t understand.
          Why would programs want to play UConn? Why not? Why is Michigan playing UConn? Tenn? Maryland? NC State? Is it more likely that big time programs will schedule UConn in this Big East conference? What has been the incentive?

          1. Publicus

            You obviously know little about sports, especially what is going on right now. State the reasons why major programs would play UConn as an independent. Why wouldn’t they is not a reason. That’s what someone who doesn’t understand the situation says.

      2. rich

        I see your points and mostly agree. I don’t know if going independent is the answer, I just think it’s something to consider. Just like merging with Conference USA or MAC. I don’t think anything should be off the table at this point. Even if UConn is in the MAC I’m still watching and going to games, I just think all options should be considered. At the end of the day, I hope we can create the most competitive out of conference schedule possible and win games. Everything else will work itself out.

        1. dconner Post author

          Let this one go Rich and think conference like every other school in the country. If you see my points you can’t possibly still want to push this idea. You could but know the people who run the athletic department couldn’t do that based on the reasons I have here and others they only know. Think conference friend.

  17. Navin R. Johnson

    Please tell me why Coonecticut is destined to go to the Big 12 or ACC? They have been passed by 4 times in the last 18 months.

    1. buddy

      Coonecticut as you write is not destined to go anywhere anytime soon. The current administration has proven that is it not interested in promoting Coonecticut athletics. They promote an underperforming coach to associate level, go to the Virgin Islands while other athletic directors are burning up the phone lines with viable conferences, leaving UConn to wither and die in a dissolving conference. They are still clinging to the belief that conference presidents are unified while 7 catholics and two non catholics are jumping the sinking ship. Theis is why you are correct in asking that question.

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