In these crazy times that we call “conference realignment”, basketball — and, well, everything that makes college sports great — takes a back seat to
that cold hard cash football.
And the need to fill the void left by West Virginia, who will bolt for the Big 12 this fall after agreeing to a $20 million exit fee with the Big East, for the 2012 football season is why Temple appears to be the latest program to join the Big East in all sports. Pete Thamel of the New York Times broke the story, saying that “a resolution is expected this month.” Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com quotes a source in his report that says the deal “is done”.
While football may be the main focus of the changes, this absolutely will have an effect on the basketball side of things.
For starters, the Atlantic 10 — which is one of the strongest basketball leagues outside of the Power Six conferences — will be losing one of the marquee members. The Owls are one of the few national brands in the conference and arguably the best basketball program. Regardless of level, losing a perennial NCAA Tournament team is never a good thing for a conference.
But adding a perennial NCAA Tournament team is always a good thing, and for the second time in the last month, that is precisely what the Big East has done. They’ve brought in Memphis. They’ve added Temple. And while that may mean that the Big East will end up playing with … (carry the two) … 18 basketball teams come the 2013 season, the addition of the Owls — and the Tigers — will help to offset the fact that the Big East is trading out three of their best basketball programs (Pitt, Syracuse, WVU and maybe Lousville?) for three of Conference USA’s middlings (Central Florida, Houston, SMU).
Conference realignment is not a good thing. The watering down of the Big East is a travesty and devastating for someone like myself that grew up on college hoops in the northeast. I don’t like losing the Syracuse-Georgetown and the Pitt-West Virginia rivalries. I hate what the Big East Tournament is going to be forced to become.
I despise realignment.
But since we’re already at this point, its tough to see Temple’s addition to the Big East as a bad thing.
Unless you’re the Atlantic 10.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.