Hoops vs. football revenue


There is no question the Big East has to deal with a much different dynamic when it comes to football and expansion. Basketball is a much bigger player in this league than any other. Need more proof?

The league received more revenue from the NCAA tournament than it did from the BCS this past season. Hoops brought in $24.9 million, tops among all conferences; the BCS brought in $21.2 million. This is simplistic yes, and a function of a) 11 Big East teams getting into the tournament and b) UConn winning the national championship. Conferences get more money the further their teams advance.

If you are breaking down payouts to each school, then the Big East was fourth, handing out $1.55 million to each school. Clearly BCS money goes a longer way, if only because there are eight football-playing schools to 16 for basketball (until TCU joins).

Another examination of revenues for athletic programs showed among all Big East basketball schools, only Notre Dame lost money. Louisville ranked as the No. 21 most profitable program in all of college sports, including football.

So yes, basketball is king and that helps explain why the Big East is at such a crossroads when it comes to expansion. The hoops brethren have no problem with Villanova making the move up to FBS and becoming the 10th football member, because it makes everything much easier for them. And by easier, we mean adding zero hoops teams to a lineup so crowded the league has no idea how it's going to run its conference tournament.

Football wants a more dynamic player, and rightfully so, because you get billion dollar TV media rights deals with attractive football teams. Villanova is in Philadelphia, but how many TV sets in the Philadelphia area are going to be tuned to watch Villanova football?

As for the possibility of dropping hoops teams to make way for more football members, that scenario would be hard to envision because of the power the basketball schools have in the league. UConn coach Jim Calhoun had some interesting comments about the future of the league during the Big East spring meetings last month, but plenty have speculated on an eventual split of the football and non-football schools. It is not in anyone's best interest for that to happen.