Mike Aresco

The Big East’s new TV deal could include a name change


Well, everything else about the conference is about to change, why not the name?

That’s a possibility for the Big East Conference, which just got a new — albeit, low paying — television deal from ESPN, according to a story by CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.

It was possibly part of the plan in the conference’s failed TV deal with NBC, in which they could sell the name to the seven catholic schools that will break away from the conference to form their own league. The provision would provide the Big East (or what is currently the Big East) $2 million NBC could’ve used to market a new conference name.

That deal could be included in the deal with ESPN. A document was sent to the Catholic Seven in December, with a section of that document asking if they’d like to retain the conference’s name.

Let’s be honest, it’d no longer be the Big “East”, anyway. Even without Boise State and San Diego State, there’s still Tulane, Memphis and SMU coming into the conference. Even though it hasn’t really been “east” since the inclusion of Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati and DePaul in 2005.

As Fowler points out, the name change probably holds more meaning to the basketball schools, who shaped the culture of the old Big East Conference. Though, when you think about it, the only team sticking around in the “new” Big East that will care about the name is Connecticut. They helped make the Big East into what it was in the 80s and 90s. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and, at least from a more modern standpoint, Louisville — who helped up the conference’s stature in the 00s — are all bolting for the ACC.

The article also brings up the issue of how much money selling the conference name could bring in. If it does bring in a high-dollar amount, say around eight digits, this is a viable option. And honestly, it’s a good one. Conference’s have been changing names forever, there’s just more money in realignment and it’s more high-profile now. Names aren’t as sacred as they used to be.

So why not sell off the name? To traditionalists who value the memories of a great conference in its prime, it’s better to look back at the Big East Conference and remember the good times, rather than know that there is still a Big East Conference that isn’t even a shell of its former self, it’s a total genetic mutation.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?