Late last week, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart gave his opinion that Big East football could disband. On Monday afternoon, no less of an authority than Mike Tranghese was sounding similar alarm bells.
Tranghese, the man who started Big East football before retiring as league commissioner a year ago, told a Pittsburgh radio station on Monday that the conference he once oversaw could be at the mercy of Big Ten expansion plans.
"It’s a question of what the Big Ten does,’’ he said. "If the Big Ten takes multiple teams, the Big East is in trouble.’’
I get asked all the time why the Big East doesn't take preventive measures to avoid such a fate. My normal answer is that the Big East doesn't really have any cards to play. Tranghese agrees.
"I don’t think there’s anything the Big East can do to prevent it," he told the radio station. "Everyone is on pins and needles waiting to see what the Big Ten will do. It’s a pretty dicey time.’’
Tranghese confirmed that the Big East had instituted a $5 million penalty fee after the ACC raid in 2005, but that hardly serves as a deterrent when schools are looking at windfalls in the $20 million range from a possible Big Ten move.
And what about the idea of adding teams as a preventive move? Tranghese said the types of schools that would make the Big East more viable aren't available.
"Just adding teams will not make the Big East stronger,’’ he said.
These are some pretty dire warnings that should have every Big East athletic director and president on edge. Still, as Tranghese mentioned, it's really all about what the Big Ten does at this point. If it merely adds one team, even a Big East school, then the future of the conference shouldn't be dramatically altered.