With all of the football schools joining into ever-larger lumps of meat, it always seemed like a time would com when at least one hoops-only league would flat-out disappear. I thought it would be a mid-major, like the CAA or Horizon, but it’s one of the BCS leagues, gutted by realignment, that may go down first.
According to the Providence Journal, the Big East may be at a tipping point for dissolution after Rutgers left to join the Big Ten.
Representatives of some of those [remaining] seven schools said this week that the tipping point would be reached if either Connecticut or Louisville heads to another league. Such a loss would be infinitely more important to the basketball schools than Rutgers leaving, because it would further erode an already badly damaged basketball core.
Losing a UConn or Louisville would also give the basketball schools the opportunity to engineer an unprecedented power play and vote to dissolve the league. According to the Big East’s bylaws, the conference can be dissolved by a two-thirds vote of all members. The seven basketball schools, which include Providence College, would own that voting advantage over three all-sports members (Cincinnati, South Florida and either UConn or Louisville). That voting edge would disappear in July, when new members Central Florida, Houston, Memphis and SMU come onboard.
Why commit suicide instead of being killed? Because the basketball schools that remain would actually have some power in such a scenario. They could be the driving force in the growing “nationwide hoops league” movement. The Big East basketball schools could take the lead, and to some measure, dictate terms of such an arrangement if they are free of any conference affiliation.
We’ll keep an eye on this situation, and update you throughout the holiday week.