LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The struggling Big East Conference came up short again in the latest round of…
Is the Big East no longer good for Navy?
Yet again this all comes back to the expansion desires of the Big Ten. Even when it looked like the conference was set at twelve teams (unless Notre Dame became available) they were making overtures to add to the membership. The result is that Maryland will be leaving the ACC and, more importantly for the future of the Naval Academy, Rutgers appears to be leaving the Big East.
The loss of Rutgers would be massive for the struggling Big East for a number of reasons. The defection of a founding member of the league looks horrible to any prospective sponsor, while the loss of the New York City TV market drastically cuts the leagues footprint and viewing figures. In addition the impending defection is making Boise State and San Diego State in 2014, teams who would drastically improve the level of football, reconsider their commitment and explore returning to the Mountain West.
Now let's add to this that the ACC will be looking to fill the void that Maryland (Big Ten) and possibly even Florida State (Big 12) will create. With a want to increase their footprint with schools already in and around the league area, the vulnerable Big East could be looking at losing more members. Both Louisville and Connecticut have already been floated as likely for an ACC switch.
So, where does this leave Navy? Here is what athletic director Chet Gladchuck has had to say on the matter to the Annapolis Capital in the last couple of days.
"We've said since day one what is important to the Naval Academy is stability. If Rutgers is leaving, as has been widely reported, that would give reason for pause and cause for reevaluation. I say reevaluation, not reconsideration, because conference affiliation is essential to the future of Navy football. What a conference can deliver in terms of television, scheduling and bowl affiliations is also very important."
It sounds to me like Gladchuck is covering his bases while putting the best spin on the situation that he can. One of the major issues facing the Big East is that decision last week by the Bowl Championship Series commissioners to award an automatic bowl invite to the highest rated champion from the "Group of Five" essentially puts the Mountain West on the same level as the Big East in terms of playoff access.
No playoff access and an ever weakening league does nothing for the Big East in terms of making it a draw to schools, sponsors, recruits, or TV executives. Many have called it a basketball conference for the last few years and nothing the league is doing is changing that image. Navy certainly needs conference affiliation moving forward, but the question as to whether the conference they need to be in is the Big East has never loomed more large.
UPDATE: Rutgers officials announced on Wednesday that they were leaving the Big East for the Big Ten.
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