Saturday December 15, 2012
The seven non-football members of the Big East conference have voted to go their own way. The presidents of Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Marquette and DePaul released a joint statement, saying:
Earlier today we voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established. Under the current context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.
We are grateful to our Commissioner, Michael Aresco, for his exceptional leadership of the Big East Conference. We have been honored to be associated with the outstanding group of institutions that have made up the Big East. While we pursue this opportunity for our institutions, we believe the efforts of the past two years have established the foundation for an enduring national football conference.
We look forward to building this new foundation with an emphasis on elite competition and a commitment to the development of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics. That is where we will now spend our energy as we move forward.
League commissioner Michael Aresco issued a formal response, saying:
The basketball institutions have notified us that they plan to withdraw from the BIG EAST Conference. The membership recognizes their contributions over the long distinguished history of the BIG EAST. The 13 members of the Conference are confident and united regarding our collective future. We have a strong Conference with respected national universities, and are working together to forge the future. We have a variety of options, and are looking forward with great partnership, collegiality and optimism.
According to league bylaws, the seven will depart the league in June of 2015 - which means two more impossibly awkward seasons of "Big East" hoops.
That settles it, right?
Still to be determined - what will the new basketball-only league look like? What will happen to the schools left behind in this mass exodus - Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida? Which group of schools will get to keep the Big East name, and all-important NCAA Tournament revenue?
St. John's University president Fr. Donald Harrington will hold a press conference later today which MAY shed some light on those issues.
Thursday December 13, 2012
During the fourth quarter of last night's Nets/Raptors game, referee Courtney Kirkland attempted to block a Kris Humphries free-throw attempt.
Yes, you read that correctly.
There's something you don't see every day, huh?
Apparently Kirkland gave Humphries the ball without realizing that there were players waiting to enter the game... the Dikembe Mutombo impression was his way of stopping Hump from shooting so the sub could check in before the shot.
If only he had some sort of signaling device designed to get the attention of basketball players... a whistle, perhaps? Wait, what?
Thursday December 13, 2012
Another major shakeup could hit the Big East conference in the next few days. It is even possible that the once-mighty basketball power could be dissolved.
The seven non-football schools in the conference - DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova - are "close to a consensus" on what they'll do next. The plummeting value of the league's television contract is a big factor. According to one report, the Big East is being offered about $60-80 million per year in current negotiations. Last year, they turned down an offer from ESPN that would have paid three times as much.
Dissolving the league entirely may be an option. The conference may be dissolved if a two-thirds majority of member schools votes to do so, and after the recent departures of Rutgers (to the Big Ten), Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville (to the ACC) the seven non-football schools represent 70 percent of the membership at this point.
Earlier reports suggested that Temple - a football-only member - could become the key vote to prevent the basketball schools from getting that two-thirds majority, but ESPN sources indicate that the Owls do not have the right to participate in a conference dissolution vote.
The presidents of the remaining football schools - Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida - are reportedly lobbying the basketball schools to keep the league intact... Sort of remarkable, given the fact, just weeks ago, they lobbied just as hard to grab a spot in the ACC.
What happens if the seven non-football schools do split off? Atlantic 10 officials have been dropping hints they'd be happy to give the ex-Big East hoops schools a home. That makes sense on some levels; the A-10 is largely comprised of Catholic and private schools in the Northeast and upper Midwest; institutions like Xavier, Dayton and St. Louis have a great deal in common with, say, Seton Hall and Providence, and the additions of recent Final Four schools Butler and VCU gives the A-10 a bit more juice as a basketball power. But adding seven schools to the A-10 would give that league 21 members, which may be a bit awkward.
Much may hinge on whether or not the basketball schools are able to hang on to the conference name and relationship with Madison Square Garden. That could enable the league to return to its roots as a highly-competitive basketball conference comprised primarily of Catholic schools in major markets.
Wednesday December 12, 2012
Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Kanye West and Bon Jovi might be the headliners at tonight's 12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden, but the NBA will be supplying some star power to the show as well.
A large group of current and former New York Knicks will be in attendance, including Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd and basketball hall-of-famers Walt "Clyde" Frazier and Earl Monroe.
Kobe Bryant of the Lakers is also slated to participate; his Lakers play the Knicks at MSG on Thursday.
The concert and associated telethon will raise funds for the Robin Hood Relief Fund. The show will be available at movie theaters, on television or via the Web; check 121212concert.org for broadcast details and to make a donation.