Mailbag 11/28: Where Does Blame Fall in Latest Snubbing of UConn?

by Categorized: Big East, UConn men's basketball, Warde Manuel

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.

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36 thoughts on “Mailbag 11/28: Where Does Blame Fall in Latest Snubbing of UConn?

  1. Steve

    what a kick in the teeth for uconn! Embarrassing that after several conference realignments all major conferences look other way instead of at uconn. Yes, calhoun’s cheating ways didn’t help. But clearly football and tv money it brings in is what wins the day. Who care is uconn beat louisville in football this year. Anyone who thinks uconn football is going in right direction is an absolute idiot. Same for anyone who thinks things will get better if pee pee can get a few more recruits. Look at how bad BE is in relevance, relegated to competing with MAC, WAC and other leftovers just for chance to get to BCS bowl game. Anyone think uconn can compete with top teams in WAC and MAC? Uconn can’t even beat mediocre MAC teams. MAC is more at a football level than BE football for uconn. Having pee pee as your head coach probably showed ACC all they need to know about uconn’s commitment to big time football. Uconn is irrelevant nationally now. Basketball program, struggling against lower div 1 aschool and Ollie in limbo. Sorry, uconn women’s basketball does not help it get to big conference. Worst thing uconn fans is that IF new teams come into BE, and uconn will still be there, they have no where else to go, they will actually be worst team in football. East Carolina is light years ahead of uconn in football. No one to blame here folks, uconn is simply not important to future of BCS conferences and none of conferences need uconn despite uconn’s begging, its BE, MAC or Atlantic 10, that is about best uconn can hope for.

    1. Pete

      It is quite clear from your writing that you never went to college…high school…middle school…

  2. buddy

    My understanding is that the ACC loved Louisville’s aggressive nature in building athletic success. Academics are meaningless. This administration has shown that it is not aggressive in building the athletic department’s success. Once the NCAA ban came and other limitations were handedout, the coaches responsible should have been terminated immediately. Same for football. After the Temple game, it should have been goodbye coaches, we want to build a successful program. Not settle for status quo and see where the dust settles. The President and athletic director have a done a disservice to UConn and its supporters here.

  3. Nick

    People should realize that the ACC is not going to be the place to be long-term. Ultimately there are going to be 4 super conferences (Big-10, Pac-12, Big-12 and SEC). FSU, Clemson and VT will all defect from the ACC eventually leaving it much like the Big East is today. Also, the arrangement with ND and the ACC states that if ND has the same as or better record than the winner of the ACC championship game then ND gets the BCS bid. So if by chance the ACC championship game was won by NC State or Clemson and their record was 8-4 and ND was 9-3 ND get the BCS bid. However, I believe once the Super Conferences are fully defined (FSU, Clemson, VT defect)the ACC will lose that automatic bid just like the Big East. If Lousiville was smart they would have waited for the Big 12 to invite them.

    1. Pete

      Nick…you are spot on…..look at the ACC championship game….they can’t even get 2 teams with winning records to play in it. The traditions of colleges and regional rivalries have all been thrown out for greed…plain and simple…..

    2. Rob

      I agree 100% with Nick. Everyone thinks the ACC is such a victory — It isn’t. It’s the new Big East. The only problem is, the present Big East is a disaster. The best course right now is: Recruit hard, build new facilities, grow the brand, clean up academic problems, increase US News & World Report… and wait for the next round of realignment madness. It will come. Count on it.

      1. Smoke Fire

        Nick, keep spinning that. If I am given the choice of staying on the Titanic, that is the Big East or jumping to the ACC, I am jumping EVERY TIME. At least the ACC has decent football. Can you really say that about the Big East. As to ND, they have just moved to a conference that is going to let them by their (ND) rules. Get the ACC money for other sports, and keep their football money. How many of you think that ND is going to continue this football up surge? No, this is not Ara or Holtz reborn. Sorry Nick, if given the chance to jump UC should take it. The Big East is dying a slow death, and the longer UC stays, the harder, AND LONGER it is going to take to get the football and B-Ball programs back to relevance.

  4. GMX

    We were told it’s all about academic standing and TV market. That’s why Rutgers was chosen over us. Apparently it’s not so. Can anyone really make a rational argument that Louisville is demonstratively better in football (and/or basketball for that matter) than UCONN – maybe this year, but certainly not over the past ten years. So how did it happen that we are again on the outside looking in? It had to be the marketing pitch. I don’t see any articles say we have an “aggressive” AD, like Louisville. So what to do now? As for me, I’m done. Unless Herbst and Manual are fired, I’m done. No more season ticket purchases, no more donations, no more road trips, no more alumni association dues – I’m done. Herbst and Manual need to be held accountable. Her comments today about not worrying about things we can’t control, should be in and of themselves, grounds for her immediate firing.

    1. Mike McManus

      Where in the hell do some of these bloggers come from, a bar stool? GMX wants to fire the President and AD because the ACC chose Louisville over UCONN? Get a life. Previous articles already emphasized that it was the football schools in the ACC that pushed for Louisville so why criticize two relatively new administrators who had no influence whatsoever on the current status of the football program. Let’s put things in perspective…a great football program does not make a great university.

      1. UCIE

        So Louisville AD Jurich publicly admits that UCONN was “not only penciled in but penned in” and his agressive sales pitch “turned perception around” yet, Mr. McManus, you beleive Ward Manual should not be held accountable for his failure to deliver. That’s an interesting take. I prefer the wisdom from the “bar stool” over yours.

      2. RTD

        This from the popular “Hank the Tank Blog”. I suppose you think he is on “a bar stool” with “no life” either.
        “Unfortunately, the ACC’s decision left behind another school that deserves better than a watered-down Big East: UConn. I rarely blame the leadership of schools for failing to get spots in different conferences since so much is out of the control of those individual institutions. However, the ACC invite should have been UConn’s to lose. UConn had the academic profile and better geographic fit for the ACC along with a larger immediate TV market (#30 Hartford vs. #48 Louisville) and entry points to two massive metro areas (New York City and Boston). Yet, UConn somehow got characterized as a weaker football addition and athletic department overall compared to Louisville in the past week despite going to a BCS bowl and winning a national championship in men’s basketball in the same season only two years ago. That’s an accomplishment that not even Texas and Ohio State have been able to achieve. I told several UConn fans late last week that their school was doing an extremely poor job in addressing the negative public perception issues and Louisville had taken ownership of being a “football move” for the ACC (never mind that Louisville is the highest basketball revenue generator in the country and it’s not even close). What really wasn’t that large of an athletic achievement gap between UConn and Louisville became perceived as a massive gulf in the eyes of the media and fans and, faced with the increasing scrutiny of whether the ACC ought to maintain its power conference status in football, this might have been the one time that the university presidents were won over by public sentiment in an expansion decision. This is an instance where the UConn leadership can’t take an “it is what it is” look at what has occurred. My impression is that they believed (as I admittedly did) that the ACC was going to vote in UConn over Louisville and Cincinnati on academics just like it did in all of its other raids of the Big East previously. They didn’t bank on the ACC’s mindset changing, failed to address what the ACC was concerned the most about in the college conference landscape and, as a result, got burned. It’s a shame since Connecticut ought to be in a better home than the new Big East, but they whiffed on their best (and possibly only) opportunity to move on up.”

  5. rich

    I think it it poetic justice that UCONN continues to get snubbed. I am amazed at the arrogance of Calhoun, Geno, the media and the alumni, all who think UCONN deserves to be in the ACC. It is all about football, and UCONN football is mediocre at best. Everyone used to love the Big East, what changed? You still get to play Georgetown, St. John’s and Villanova in basketball. UCONN always was a basketball school. Let’s go back to the schools roots.

    1. Jay

      The ACC is a terrible football conference. There is not a single school in the ACC that is deserving of a top 25 ranking in football. They only play each other and when they play out of conference they get blown out….just like last weekend…0-4! Miami and FSU both went to the ACC and they have been completely irrelevant for over a decade!

      UConn is no better but certainly no worse than anyone in the ACC….hell they just beat Louisville on the road!

      It really makes no difference anyway. Soon college athletics will be a thing of the past just like “on-campus” universities will be too…..all teaching and learning will be long distance over the internet at a fraction of the cost and going to live at college will be limited to medical schools.

      1. Pete

        You can bet there might be one athlete every 2 decades that could make it to medical school!!

    2. Cool Hurt

      Who cares about the ACC. If Uconn had any pride it would turn down the ACC when an invitation is finally offered. Screw the ACC.

  6. CalusaSouth

    First of all, for all you UConn supporters who hold Calhoun responsible for the situation, really don’t get it. Without Jimmy Calhoun there is no discussion about where UConn will land. UConn is just a Yankee Conference school without the basketball program that Calhoun built to national prominence, not to take anything from Geno’s incredible success. Football is the key that drives the new alignments, UConn comes up short. Hiring PP has to make a lot of people scratch their heads, nothing against the coach, but this is the guy that going to build the program to national prominence? It’s a white flag hire, what is it with UConn? They can’t get any up and coming coaches that are aggressive enough to turn this program around? This is the best they can do for an AD?? The AD is responsible for a lot of the issues today….how can a basketball proud conference, the ACC, look at the mess at UConn and say, we want that program! UConn’s AD is looking for intangibles, I got one for you, KO has earned his spurs, if the so-called AD doesn’t sign him quick, KO is just auditioning for another school and he will leave. The Men’s program is in serious trouble and it’s not all Calhoun. What recruit wants to sign with a school and coach when the school isn’t even sure it wants that particular coach. Perhaps UConn can be a training ground for future Michigan coaches. What a deplorable situation and it rests solely with the President and the AD. Get used to second status!!

  7. Jay

    Wake Up Connecticut. Outside the 5500 square miles called Connecticut no one really cares about Uconn. We have spent HUNDREDS of millions of $$$ to play with the big boys and they all laugh at Uconn

  8. UCIE

    GMX nailed it! The President and the AD MUST be held accountable. Preventing days like today is their job and should have been their focus. The fact that PP remains the coach clearly indicates they don’t get it. The fact that Lousiville could be considered a more valuable commodity is an embarrasment. Herbst should fire Manual today and then immediately resign.

    Also, those blaming Calhoun have short memories. As CalusaSouth correctly points out, if it were not for Calhoun Uconn would not even be in the the discussion.
    EVERYTHING that UCONN has in terms of national name recognition is owed entirely to Jim and Geno.

  9. Pete

    Who really cares if they laugh. Our country is going down the toilet to fiscal disaster and all any cares about is what conference they play football in. Most kids cant even afford to go to college….the ones who actually deserve to go. Listen to most athletes speak and you know they are not in college to get educated anyway…

  10. Pete

    The United States has lost all direction as to what is important in life and what is not. University Presidents have been shrunk down to being “money whores” to college football. Our students are getting dumber and dumber..and falling farther and farther behind other countries. We are no longer a superpower…we are a country of illiterate sports fanatics who lie, cheat and steal to get on television more than the next moron!

  11. ray-ray


  12. KB

    This is what happens when you do not capitalize on a BCS bowl appearance and hire old man PP and GD… these has beens are the reason why we did not get selected. If we had a young and vibrant coach that was putting points on the board we would be in the ACC. This is the only reason we were left out. Our academics and all other sports are sitting nicely

  13. robert

    this might well turn out to be a blessing in disguise if Uconn can continue to be a top BB school and not have to spend additional tens of millions to make football competitive with top 4 or 5 conferences. Again, look at Rutgers with annual deficit spending of TENS of millions of $$–and now that they are moving to Big Ten, they will need to spend a fortune more on new facilities. Plenty of top-grade b’ball teams left in big east, nothing wrong with a mid-grade football team if it helps keep everything a bit more sane.

    The program that is hurt is the women’s BB team. Who is left in conference that is worth playing on the women’s side? Rutgers, ND, Louisville were programs that at least gave Uconn a fight–as far as I can tell the new programs are complete zeros for women’s BB.

  14. Pete

    The other reason is that we sued the initial schools that bolted for the ACC and so some of the ADs in the All Cupcake Conference want to punish UConn. No matter the ACC (like the Big East) will be gone by 2020.

  15. Paul

    I think the ACC thinking here is Louisville was looking at a few conference to defect to, the ACC knows they will have more defectors, they know Uconn isnt looking anywhere but the ACC, Why take Uconn now when they arent going anywhere. If Louisville didnt get in they would get sucked up by someone else.

  16. Pam

    In response to Pete, Pitt and Syracuse also sued the ACC for taking their first round of helpings from the Big East. It sure hasn’t interfered with their invites to the ACC.

    1. Pete


      Blumenthal was very obnoxious and outspoken and he led the way….Miami and BC both came right out and said they would block any attempt by UConn to get into the ACC.

      1. Paul

        BC doesnt want UConn in because now you have a direct competitor who is better in all sports in your conference in your region. Both BC and Miami took massive heat over trying to block UConn. This has nothing to do with anything but money. Uconn will end up in the ACC when Florida State defects.

  17. Terry

    If UCONN had the football resume of Boise State, this discussion wouldn’t be happening because UCONN would already be gone to the ACC.

    I’m not a fan of Manual after the way he went CYA in butchering the KO transition. But, to blame him for this, can’t see it. This one’s on Edsall’s snails pace improvement program and Hathaway for sleeping through it.

  18. Lar

    A lot of entertaining posts…..lots of experts with answers……lots of “I think”…….lots of “The reason is”. What there isn’t in the posts is a lot of facts. Lots of speculation only.

  19. I is a athlete

    UConn should drop football and save all the $ from scholarships to bring in better students…non-athletic students….that can read and write and put together an actual thought. College athletics is responsible for bringing most of the truly illiterate onto campuses when they should be out working in the incredible world of fast foods!! Every school cheats….athletes have papers done for them…never attend class…the classes they do attend are basket-weaving…how to take a potty break….making toast…’s pathetic! Listen to these young men interviewed after games…..there is nothing going on up there…ever!!

    1. Paul

      The problem with dropping football is you will drop all your future earnings from athletics. Even though Uconn’s football program isnt great, without it they will never be accepted into a football conference and their their Bball program will die. That will then take millions of dollars out of the state of CT….

  20. Will J

    I think this is a blessing in disguise. Let’s face it: ACC may be one of the “big 5″ conferences, but it is the lowest on the pecking order and is certain to get poached in the future by SEC, Big 10, and Big 12. The ACC will be the next Big East. It’s no secret that FSU is unhappy and will leave if offered by the Big 12 or SEC. Virginia Tech and UNC would leave for the SEC in a heartbeat, whenever they decide to go to 16 teams. Virginia would move to the Big 10, and Louisville will also run to the Big 12 should they ever expand. Our best hope is to improve academics over the next couple of years and hope the Big 10 comes calling.

    1. Paul

      Yeah I agree…Uconn should try to align with one of the “mega” conferences now. ACC isnt long for this world. IT would be nice to keep have Uconn move to the ACC and keep it in tact to have a unreal bball conference but bball doesnt make the money football does so it would never happen

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