Here is what Coach Auriemma had to say about the official demise of the Big East Conference:
“The Big East has been fractured for a while and once something is fractured its only a matter of time before it collapses. We’ve been fractured since 2005 and to me its been a miracle that the administration has been able to keep the conference together for this long given the disparity, the different agendas and different missions of all the schools involved. We may have been the most diverse conference in the history of college athletics.
“It was only a matter of time. And it’s the best thing. If you [universities] announce you are leaving, and then you stick around for a numbers of years, it just causes a lot of bad stuff. Once someone announces they are leaving, well, the sooner the better. I am happy for the seven schools [the Catholic 7]. It gets them going in the direction they want to go sooner and it gets us in the direction we need to go in sooner. All that is really, really good.
“We all knew it was going to happen once the storm clouds came in and football began to run the NCAA. We knew our football schools [in the Big East] couldn’t survive with eight [basketball only] schools. It’s not a marriage made in heaven.
“I can honestly say, since there are not a lot of TV games, that I don’t know how good SMU is, I don’t know how good Houston is. I don’t know how good Memphis is. But I do know that there are some schools in our league that have struggled mightily to be successful in this conference.
“Are the schools we added going to be any worse? I think they have the potential to be better.
“What does it do for men’s basketball? I have no idea. What does it do for football? I have no idea. But in terms of what this means for women’s basketball, losing Notre Dame is going to really hurt. Losing Syracuse and Rutgers [next year] is going to hurt.
“But I don’t know that three or four years from now we are going to look back and go ‘boy, those seven schools that left just killed our women’s basketball program”
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