UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

Initial Reaction: Can’t spin much positive in latest wave of defections

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The Big East has died about five times now.

Once when Pitt and Syracuse left, again when Notre Dame bounced and, of course, when Louisville got the ACC invite over UConn.

Ray Allen in the old Big East (AP)

Each move — even the Louisville defection — caused a gross overreaction in Connecticut.

We all knew UConn football was in trouble, but despite all the abandonment, Huskies basketball — a program with rich tradition and a young, charismatic head coach — still had the pieces to remain relevant, if not prosperous.

That was the optimist’s view, at least.

Today, the optimist’s view looks something like this: _______________________.

If you can fill in the blank above, be my guest. I’ve got nothing.

The seven Big East catholic schools will split from the league, the New York Post reported Thursday, leaving UConn with two holdovers — Cincinnati and South Florida — with newcomers Central Florida, SMU, Houston, Memphis, Temple and Tulane.

Ouch.

Now, it’s unclear whether or not the seven schools will simply branch off or vote to dissolve the league altogether. Dissolution of the league requires a 2/3 majority vote, and the seven schools hold the power to make that happen. So UConn could be forced to become an independent. Or, if invited, it could choose to follow those seven Big East catholic schools and join a legitimate basketball conference (Butler, VCU, Xavier, Dayton, Gonzaga and St. Mary’s are all candidates for this new league, according to SNY’s Adam Zagoria).

Unless the ACC comes calling again (which isn’t totally out of the question), UConn can’t have the best of both worlds. At this moment, there is no ideal situation for both basketball and football. There is, however, a scenario in which both major sports can suffer: Staying put.

If UConn stands pat, it will be a big fish in a tiny basketball pond. Kevin Ollie is a great recruiter; he’s not a miracle-worker. In order to attract top talent in the coming years, UConn must join a semi-competitive hoops league soon. Perhaps the University can stick as a football-only member in the “Big East.” It’s certainly not perfect, but nowadays in Storrs, it never is.

UConn is a basketball school, first and foremost. The administration must make a move (if it can) to preserve the tradition Jim Calhoun started 26 years ago.

Categories: General

5 Responses

  1. Jake says:

    @Mayor..It’s funny how someone who claims to be someone who doesn’t care about college sports is poking around a college sports blog. Something smells in McDonaldland

  2. Mayor McCheese says:

    Reduce the program overall and stop pretending to be a professional sports school. Use the money for academic programs since it is a university after all.

    Most people – in Fairfield County anyway – don’t care about UCONN sports, but we do care that the University become a first rate school.

  3. Rob says:

    I figured this move was coming. These basketball schools were seeing their league watered down for the sake of football. It’s very possible, and smart, if the new league does not allow any members to play BCS football. The most they should be allowed to play is FCS, which Villanova currently does. Georgetown plays non scholarship FCS football. UConn can’t survive as a BCS football independent, not enough TV money or exposure and I don’t see them dropping back to the FCS after all the money that has been spent. If the ACC doesn’t want them then they’re stuck in the new C-USA.

  4. Jeff says:

    It is time to get real. The B1G is not inviting UConn. The ACC does not want UConn. I hate to say it but maybe the best fit for football is the MAC. They play a good brand of football and it will always be difficult for UConn to ever recruit anything more than 3 star athletes to Storrs, so it is unrealistic to think that UConn will ever compete for national titles with the big boys of the sport. If the “Catholic 7″ does form another league or decides to keep the Big East name, UConn could compete there in basketball and other sports.

  5. Nick says:

    There is another option…. joining the B1G. They just took Rutgers and Maryland and leaves them at 14….. Im thinking they add Cincy and UConn and make themselves WAY better than the ACC in hoops and a step below the SEC in footbal with Cincy.

    ACC is at 15…they can only take one school, and that might be South Florida. Thats a home for the remaining 3 BE football schools.