As Big East crumbles, how are other schools reacting?
While USF athletic officials declined comment Thursday about the Big East's Catholic schools preparing to leave the league, some other schools had some reaction:
-- In Cincinnati, the athletic director declined comment but basketball coach Mick Cronin sought to assure Bearcats fans: “I’m confident that we’ll be in a league that we belong in, whether it’s the Big East or any other conference,” Cronin said. “If we’ve learned anything over the last three years it’s that this stuff is far from over. When you start talking about men’s basketball, we have a great product and it’s attractive to people.”
-- Connecticut was a charter member of the Big East in 1979 but has made no secret of its hopes for an invitation to the ACC. Its athletic director, Warde Manuel, was on a sports radio station Thursday referring to reports of the Catholic schools leaving as rumors and lobbying to hold the league together: "Talking through it and really trying to do what we can to ensure that as the conference moves forward we move forward together to strengthen the conference and to put us in a very good position," Manuel said. "I've talked to at least one other conference member who's at a basketball institution just to let them know my feelings and hear their thoughts about their concerns and the issues that are going on. But I can't control what they do. I want them, we want them at UConn, to stay a part of the league because we feel they bring the strength on the basketball side and the other Olympic sports and we want them to be a part of the league."
Like Cronin at Cincinnati, Manuel sought to assure the fans: "My hope is stabilization for UConn and what we're doing going forward," Manuel said on WTIC. "Nobody likes to operate in a rocky environment, an unstable environment. And we're going to be committed and in this conference. So we want to make sure that the conference is stable for us to compete in all of our sports. And so my hope is, this goes away ... if they leave, we have to make sure that we're doing the right things to stabilize this environment that we're in and move forward, and control the things that we can control."