Thursday, April 29, 2010
Coaches want Notre Dame ultimatum?
By Brian Bennett
Connecticut coach Randy Edsall spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Big deal, right?
Well, Edsall apparently said something pretty interesting during the question-and-answer portion of his talk. According to Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin, Edsall "said the football coaches have been asking the conference to deliver an ultimatum to Notre Dame to come into the conference for football or get out entirely for the last two years. He added that, if as speculated, two teams leave for the Big Ten, 'the Big East is all done.'"
When speaking to reporters and asked about the Notre Dame ultimatum, all Edsall said was: "I think that’s something the powers that be are discussing in terms of the strategies that they’re looking at to be proactive rather than reactive."
Now, as I've said before, Notre Dame has been good for Big East football the past five years. If you don't see that, you're ignoring reality. The Irish helped the league improve or hold onto its bowl tie-ins during a time of uncertainty for the league while kindly not winning enough games to ever steal a Big East postseason slot.
But the situation now is more complex. Issuing such an ultimatum to Notre Dame could help save the Big East, because it might -- emphasis on might -- push the Irish in the direction of joining the Big Ten to save their other sports. (Because, let's be honest, any ultimatum to Notre Dame would basically end the Irish's Big East involvement, because they are not joining the Big East for football.)
If the Golden Domers join the Big Ten, then perhaps that league is satisfied and doesn't raid the Big East for more teams. I'd still call everything in that scenario a long shot, but it's a gamble that may be worth taking now for the Big East.
The more interesting part is that Edsall says the coaches have been pushing for this change. I wonder how much traction that idea has gotten, because the league office has steadfastly insisted that Notre Dame is a good partner. But you can understand where the coaches are coming from, particularly when they see the opportunity for the Irish to take a hard-earned bowl slot away from a deserving Big East team.