Q: If UConn does not get the ACC or another conference invite, is the AD [Warde] Manuel’s job in jeopardy? Sure, a rough question, but valid.
Chris O. Avon
A: Hi Chris, many are asking these same questions today, I’ll give my thoughts here. … Agree – a rough, but valid question to ask. If, as Pat Forde of Yahoo! Reports, Louisville “outmaneuvered” UConn with an “intense lobbying effort”, then, absolutely, Warde Manuel and Susan Herbst have some explaining to do.
I have a hard time buying completely into that, however. I can’t fathom that this process is somehow like trying to get a job – whoever applies first, has the slickest resume or makes the best impression in an interview gets to go to the ACC. Are we to believe that the ACC chose Louisville because UConn didn’t want it badly enough? If that’s the case, someone should be accountable. …
All these schools have histories, track records and brands that have been built over decades, and a conference either wants a school, or it doesn’t. UConn can’t change its location or its market, it can’t build new buildings or raise its national football profile overnight.
This is a very long-term, big-picture issue, and it is about money to be made now and in the future. Coaches, athletic directors and college presidents come and go and the fortunes on the football field or basketball court are going to have ups and downs. If UConn kicked another field goal and beat Temple, scored another TD and beat NC State, they would be in the ACC this morning? Hard to fathom. If the ACC, as has also been suggested, was uncomfortable with the academic problems and NCAA issues that have affected men’s basketball, well, these issues predate Warde Manuel and Susan Herbst coming onto the scene, and these, too, are short-term problems that appear to be fixed. Louisville spends slightly more on athletics, perhaps, but it’s hard to imagine a more well-rounded department that UConn’s.
So at day’s end, what is there to “sell?” The ACC, The Big 10, the SEC, either want UConn and what it represents, or they do not.
What UConn officials can and should do, on this and other fronts, is explain things better – tell us, with more detail, exactly what the school’s athletic-academic goals and visions are, and what they are doing, or not doing, to try to reach them. Give us something more substantial than “we’re going to do what’s best for UConn” to contemplate. Then, at least, we would all better understand why Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, Rutgers, West Virginia, and others have moved on, and UConn has not.
There is lots more on our main website, including Paul Doyle’s report, and we will be updating throughout the day.