Blog Entry

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Posted on: May 24, 2011 9:40 am
By Brett McMurphy, Senior Writer

PONTA VERDA BEACH, Fla. – UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun admits he likely won’t be coaching when it happens, but he still sees it coming. And it can’t be stopped.

Rapture? The end of the world? Not quite, but the end of the Big East Conference as we know it now.

“My own personal opinion – and I won't probably see this – in the next couple of years, four or five years down the road, I think you'll see a separation [of the football and non-football membership],” Calhoun said. “I think it's inevitable.”

The Big East currently has 16 members, including eight football members. Next season with the addition of TCU, that number inflates to 17 all-sport members and nine football members.

That number could increase even more in the next couple of years with the Big East looking to expand its football membership by as many as three teams, which conceivably could result in a behemoth 20 member conference, including 12 football members.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said the Big East’s 16-team basketball league could evolve into 20-teams, split into four pods of five teams or two 10-team divisions.

“If you go to 18 [members], oh boy,” Calhoun said. “We're talking about going to 17 [now and that] creates enough different issues.”

A split of the football and non-football schools has been speculated for some time, but league sources feel that would happen as only a last resort.

Calhoun, 68, said if the league split, the eight basketball members – DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Villanova – would pursue some additional teams from the Atlantic 10, such as Xavier and Dayton.

“That’s what I think could happen,” Calhoun said.


Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:36 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Yes, I was reffering to the Great West Conference.

Since: Apr 26, 2011
Posted on: May 29, 2011 12:10 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

By Great American West I assume you mean Great West, correct?

Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: May 26, 2011 10:07 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

I am not saying Georgetown should make the jump up or is in a financial position to jump up.  I would argue that Villanova isn't in a good financial position to make the jump up either.  Most people mistakenly include G'town as a "non-football" program and don't put it in the same classification as 'Nova.  I would argue that G'town, stadium-wise, is in a better position than 'Nova because G'town could play at either RFK or FedEx if the BE really wanted those programs to play in a large stadium.  I do think that if the BE "forced" 'Nova to make the jump up, then chances are good it might do the same to G'town since both are very influencial players in the league.

I do agree that it is shaping up to where there could be a split, but I don't think it will be that clean as many invision.  If the Catholic schools or "heretic" schools break away to form their own conference and under a new name, then the conference will have to wait 10 years (assuming at least 7 schools remain in the conference for that time period) before it can qualify for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournaments (per NCAA bylaws).  There are too many marquee schools involved that the NCAA and the media (ESPN & CBS specifically) would not want to see that happen.  However, the NCAA can't modify its bylaws right now because then that would open up the door for the Great American West (or whatever its name is right now) to also qualify for an automatic bid.  The NCAA doesn't really want that because there are no "quality" schools (i.e. schools that make money on TV) in that conference at the moment, so that conference would have to breakup before the BE split.  If the BE can't wait that long then I am not sure there could be two independent conferences that both use the BE and both receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  I think the legal ramifications associated with automatic bids, in both NCAA tournaments and BCS, is ultimately delaying the process.  It is that legal requirement that has limited the creation of new conferences to 3 (Big XII, MWC, GAW) within the last 20 years. 

Since: Apr 26, 2011
Posted on: May 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Georgetown hasn't managed to achieve even moderate success in the FCS.  Head coach Kevin Kelly's record in 5 years at the school is an ugly 9-45.  I expect they would get plastered on a weekly basis as a member of a BCS League.

Also, the Big East doesn't WANT to drop anyone.  What they're saying though is that the league may become to swelled and disagreements between the Catholic schools and football schools may prompt a split.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2011 6:41 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

do believe that there are some bcs conferences that would welcome cinn and l-ville with open arms

Since: Sep 15, 2010
Posted on: May 25, 2011 2:13 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Drop Georgetown?  Georgetown has a football program and plays in FCS Patriot League.  If Villanova is allowd to move up then Georgetown should be given the opportunity too.  After all Georgetown's rivals in basketball are Syracuse, Villanova, and UConn.  Also, I don't see the Big East dropping St. John's even though the Red Storm dropped football a few years ago (2002).  The Big East enjoys having a school in NYC and playing at MSG too much.  DePaul (D-I), Providence (D-I), Seton Hall (D-III), and Marquette (D-I) all had a football program at one time too, but has since dropped the program; DePaul (1938), Providence (1941), Seton Hall (1982), and Marquette (1978).  I believe Marquette is the only school that has a club football program now, but I am not sure any are in a financial position to sponsor a program; either non-scholarship or scholarship.

Since: May 9, 2007
Posted on: May 25, 2011 12:30 pm

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

st johns does have a football and seaton hall canceled thier team in 1982 so it's been there before. Providence im not sure if they ever had a team, but thats my point. In football it seem inevitable that they will lose the AQ status and as much as I think its over-rated I would hate to see it's basketball conference and it's historic rivals be gone because of football. So start the football part of the conference from stratch.

Since: May 25, 2009
Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:43 am

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

The Big East, East?  That sounds rediculas.  Also, UNH, UMass, Temple, Marshal, Buffalo in football.  Are you on crack?  Penn State leaving the BIG10?  I can see you are definitely TWI (Typing While Intoxicated)?

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: May 25, 2011 8:28 am

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Do Seton Hall, St Johns, and Providence even have football programs? In my scenario I did include some FCS (I-AA) teams, but these teams at least are good FCS teams (like UNH, Villanova, and UMASS). I think you would almost have to start from scratch with some of these Basketball Only schools.

Since: Jul 13, 2007
Posted on: May 25, 2011 8:11 am

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years

Temple is not a catholic school, its a public school with no religious affliations.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or