USA TODAY Sports
The moves made by the so-called Catholic-7 of Big East Conference are what kicked this latest round of realignment in the Mountain West Conference into high gear. MW Connection is keeping an eye on the forgotten parts of all this - the affect on basketball as well as news related to the Catholic-7's meetings Friday.
Lost in all the sturm und drang of the Boise St. Broncos decision this week to spurn the Big East was a scheduled meeting of the so-called "Catholic 7" schools on Friday.
The presidents from St. John's, DePaul, Providence, Marquette, Villanova, Seton Hall and Georgetown met in New York City Friday.
According to USA Today, the C-7 have retained a marketing firm and have begun ongoing discussions:
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that financial negotiations between the departing schools and the Big East have been cordial and ongoing.
Aresco also talked to the Hartford Current on Thursday.
The wide-ranging story covers all the bases of the Big East's current situation, including the recent departure of the Boise St. Broncos and the San Diego St. Aztecs, who are now in a sort of limbo.
Meanwhile, Aresco is negotiating a new television/media deal amid the chaos.
"It's been challenging, it's been difficult," Aresco said. "But there's now clarity. Boise was the biggest source of instability in the sense that people would ask us, 'Are they in, are they out?' Now with that clarified, we can move ahead."
Then there's the "San Diego State situation," as Aresco put it.
There is one bit of uncertainty: San Diego State, which was joining with Boise as a West Coast presence, is now geographically isolated. The school might wish to stay in the Mountain West Conference, but it's unknown if that conference will take the school.
Aresco said the San Diego State situation should be resolved by the end of the month. There is no immediate push to replace Boise with another school west of the Rocky Mountains, although that could change.
The conventional wisdom is that football is driving the conference realignment bus.
But the Catholic 7 move away from the Big East is about their basketball programs. The affect of the Boise State/SDSU/MWC dance this week on basketball/Olympic sports has largely been lost.
Jim Alexander of the Press-Enterprise out of Riverside, Calif. wrote a column titled "Big West will survive latest departures" that sums up the affects of all of this on the Big West Conference - tho this passage goes against the headline:
Losing San Diego State, while maybe bringing sighs of relief from men’s basketball coaches fretting about having to deal with Steve Fisher’s Top 25 caliber program next year, is more of a blow. It would cost the Big West a share of the San Diego media market and the prestige of a program that has made a national impact. (Not to mention a shot at an annual second berth in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field of 68.)
Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell gives some clarity to the situation in his comments:
"It’s totally a football issue, and as long as we don’t have a football conference there’s not a whole lot we can do about it," commissioner Dennis Farrell (right) said in a phone conversation Wednesday. "...The worst case scenario is, if we lost them, we’d still be at nine schools. We’d still be a solid conference. Nothing would have changed from the last three years, other than the fact that we would have essentially traded the University of Hawaii for the University of the Pacific."
The column references the Big West's status as a "Bus league" (translation: Small time league) and money woes. Ultimately, it comes down to what conference's think is best for them.
But Farrell pointed to one thing he sees as an advantage over the new made-for-TV conferences.
"I like the core values that we have," he said. "Unlike some of those conferences that are spreading out geographically and creating strange bedfellows, we have a lot of commonality in our membership.
Strangely enough, the MWC also has some commonality - for now.
Stay tuned to MW Connection for on-going MWC realignment news...