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Friday, February 10, 2012
Big East mailblog

By Andrea Adelson
ESPN.com

Only one dip into the mailbag this week after the busy events of Wednesday. We go back to two next week.

Now who has questions ...

Jerry in Indianapolis writes: So the Big East caved in and is going to let WVU go to the Big 12 next year. This just shows how inept John Marinatto is. He talked about how he was going to hold the teams to the 27 month bylaws and nothing was going to change his mind. That lasted a couple of months. Way to stick to your word, John. This paints you as a complete spineless commissioner. This opens the door for Pittsburgh and Syracuse to join the ACC in 2013.

Andrea Adelson: What is interesting to me is the way the Big East has been played. No matter what West Virginia fans want to argue, the Big East should have been in a position of power here. Because the Big East is the one with the clear bylaws that West Virginia helped draft and agreed to follow. But West Virginia turned the tables. Not only did the school file its lawsuit first, it kept saying there was no way it would play in the Big East. Conveniently, Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas took his digs at the Big East as well and ... here we are. Those inside the conference urged Marinatto to come to some sort of compromise that would keep West Virginia through 2012 to avoid the headaches the league is dealing with now. Perhaps a $15 million buyout and escape in 2013. Looking back, you could say the worst thing the Big East did was let TCU out immediately. That brings me to my next question.

WVUGODFATHER in South Boston, Va., writes: When you had legal experts available...why didn't you ask about the precedent set by allowing TCU to leave without waiting period despite having them pay the buyout? That's a question that no one will have a legal expert answer and to me it is paramount.

Adelson: According to the Big East, TCU was not subject to the league's bylaw requiring a 27-month wait because it was not a full member of the league when it left. I don't know that a legal expert would be able to offer much in the way of why the league has that as a stipulation. I think that is a bigger question for Marinatto and the league office, because the precedent obviously is one with a major impact. League schools were miffed when the Big East decided to let TCU free, some even perplexed that there was no waiting period built into their contract with the league. To my knowledge, the Big East office did not consult league schools when making this decision. In any event, the precedent was set.

Jim in Louisville writes: AA, now that the Big East is becoming the old C-USA that Louisville left are you hearing anything new about UL to the ACC or the Big 12? Geographically I'd prefer the ACC ... To remain relevant in football the Big East has got to do better than all the directional Florida schools, Memphis and having to go all the way to California and Idaho.

Adelson: Nothing new on that front. If one of those leagues is going to expand first, I still think it is the Big 12. But all indications are that it is going to stay put at 10 for now.

Mike in Gainesville writes: "No matter what type of spin the Big East tries to put on its latest configuration, none of these moves makes the football part of the conference look much better than it looked with its flagship schools as members." Lol, are you kidding? Minus Memphis the Big East is significantly stronger in football. Are you judging by tradition and fan base? Who cares about flagship programs, its today vs. tomorrow. And in football, the Big East is better. Thing that shocked me about that quote was you mentioned football not basketball. However, Memphis tempers that somewhat ('Cuse is the only big loss this year). Tradition/fan base/national recognition is taking the biggest hit, that's my main point. Everything else is comparable or advancing.

Adelson: In my view, tradition and national recognition are two major pieces in college football. They impact voting and perception of a league. So for example, if Pitt and Houston both start 5-0, who gets ranked higher? How about Syracuse and SMU? West Virginia and Houston? To me, the answer is Pitt, Syracuse and West Virginia. They are name brands with a history of past success. People know them, and feel comfortable voting for somebody "known." As for whether the Big East is stronger today, let's try to remember that SMU, San Diego State and UCF only have a few recent years of success. Syracuse and Pitt have not been great lately, but they have gone to BCS games in their past and have proven they can sustain success. Those three teams I mentioned have not.

Eric in Bridgewater, N.J., writes: How in the world is Memphis added to the Big East over Temple? I'm afraid this still reeks of Villanova's successful black-ball of the Owls because of the fear of having to compete for basketball recruits.What can you tell me about why Temple, with its rich basketball tradition and vastly improved football program, is continually passed over for Big East inclusion. Last I checked, they reside in the 4th biggest media market in the U.S. Thanks for your response.

Adelson: Marinatto answered that question on the conference call earlier this week. He said: "There were a lot of reasons that we explored Memphis, including among others central time zone. We've created, as you know, this very unique situation with regard to the West Division. We needed a school that would fit into that West Division. Geographically the school is located in the heart of our conference, in the heartland of America. All of those things were contributing factors in us determining ultimately that this was the best decision to make."