BE not looking to expand
BE not looking to expand
Big East not looking to expand | NJ.com
Big East not looking to expand
by Brendan Prunty/The Star-Ledger Wednesday July 30, 2008, 9:54 AM
NEWPORT, R.I. - As he sat back in his folding chair for his final football media day, Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese grimaced as he answered the question for what likely felt like the hundredth time.
"The coaches are talking about it, we're not talking about it," he said.
'It' is the buzz about adding a ninth team to the conference to balance out the schedule. A report in the New York Post earlier this week suggested that Army and Navy might be possibilities to join the conference. Tranghese dismissed that report quickly and swiftly.
(((The Star-Ledger's Tom Luicci wrote on the subject in the spring.)))
"That report is about a year and a half to two years old," he said. "We haven't had a conversation with Army or Navy in, I don't know, 18 months. I haven't the foggiest idea where the story came from. We talked to Army and Navy two years ago, very quietly. They looked at it, we looked at it, but it wasn't in their best interests."
If it wasn't Army or Navy, it was some other school that was taking its place in conversations with Tranghese, as well as the coaches in his conference.
Everyone wants to know if the Big East will truly get bigger. Whether it be Notre Dame or school like Central Florida - a lot of the talk centered on the possibility of getting a ninth team into the conference to balance the schedule out.
"I told the coaches to just stop talking about it, because it's not on our agenda," Tranghese said. "There is no football team out there that would make us better. Our presidents aren't going to expand just to solve a scheduling problem."
Over at the Cincinnati table, head coach Brian Kelly was peppered with questions about a scenario about Notre Dame joining the league. A member of the Big East in all sports except for football (where it is one of five independents in 1-A), Notre Dame would be a prized addition to any conference – especially the Big East.
It has a built-in fan base, a wide-reaching network of alumni and name-brand recognition. But with it's ability to command it's own television contract - it's locked up with NBC until 2015 - it has no incentive to join the Big East or any other conference for football.
"This is my personal opinion, but if you're adding a team just to balance the schedule, that's not the right thing to do," Kelly said. "There are other things – academics, geographic concerns. I am not a proponent of adding another team so we can get our schedule balanced. That would be pretty selfish of our football coaches if that was how we were thinking about it."
That's good news for us.