Notes/Quotes with Mike Aresco: “We’ll just have to prove it on the field and on the court.”

Mike Aresco (AP)

Mike Aresco (AP)

On the first official day of the American Athletic Conference, I caught up with commissioner Mike Aresco to discuss the state of the league. You can read my column here and check out some of the highlights from the interview below:

*Aresco on the potential for more realignment:  “It looks like there’s a much better chance of stability now based on ACC grant of rights. Now, it appears the Big 12 doesn’t want to expand and everyone else is settling down. It doesn’t mean it’s over. It means that we think there’s a better chance that things are stabilized for the time being…No one is a prophet, no one can forsee the future, but it looks as though right now the entire college community seems to think there will be a lull. I hope so. I hope we can develop our league.”

*On the possibility of holding men’s/women’s league tournaments in same market: “We never took the position that we wouldn’t have done it. We were inclined, depending on the bids, to separate men and women so we wouldn’t have both of our tournaments in the same place or the same state….We didn’t make it an ironclad rule. We were open to it if the XL Center made an incredible bid for the men’s tournament. But all things being equal, we felt we needed some diversity.”

“It turns out Memphis made the superior financial bid and, as you know, Memphis is a basketball hotbed and will be a highly-ranked team. Some of the fans from different schools in the area can drive, and we think we’ll have sellouts. We would have considered both places.”

“Memphis is a one-year deal with a one-year option. We may well rotate the tournament. We would like to see a lot of our teams participate. We know how important UConn is in men’s basketball. It depends on the bid.”

*On his definition of a successful league: “We have to win our share of games, make the NCAAs a reasonable number of times and play on New Years Eve or New Years Day from time-to-time.”

*On UConn basketball: “Memphis will become a terrific rival with UConn. It’s almost a guarantee. And Temple will be an interesting team because they’re very good and everyone knows that. We need our teams to play well. It’s really critical for us, more so than other conferences.”

*On UConn football: “I happen to think UConn football is underrated. I think UConn has done a remarkable job in a short period of time building an excellent program. I think Paul Pasqualoni will do a very good job there—he already has. He went out last year and beat Louisville, and that was one of the upsets of the year. In retrospect, it looks even bigger given what Louisville did in the Sugar Bowl.”

“UConn has an excellent opportunity when it plays Michigan in September, when it plays Boise next year, when it plays Maryland, when it plays other schools like that. You have a very able AD in Warde who is not afraid to play anyone. He wants to play people, he wants to build UConn’s football program. I think building UConn’s football program will be a very big part of their membership in this league.”