Big time or bust?
Just when UCF thought it had reached the big time with admission to the Big East, the league has taken a dramatic fall in stature, especially if the Catholic school follow up on a plan to leave. Still, Knights coach George O'Leary says he's not concerned: "I think the Big East, when the dust settles, it’ll be the Big East. You go back to an article I read about three months ago was that about 73 percent of the revenue in the Big East, when they broke down each team, comes from football as far as paying the bills. So as long as football is intact you’re going to have revenue. I think people are going to do what they want to do or have to do, and I think football is what generates the income as far as each school is concerned. When they broke it down and looked at all the Big East, football to basketball, it’s not close. I think that’s what you look at. I don’t get invovled in that."
Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi takes another view. He says the Big East dream is dead: "It's not easy, but they must come to the realization that everything they've worked toward for a decade is now crumbling around them. The Big East is about to become the Big Deceased, and the Knights should not pay a dime – let alone millions of dollars -- to join a league that is really no better than the one they are leaving. ...
"It's time to accept the fact that there is no future in the Big East. Let's face it, this is not even close to the conference UCF thought it was joining. That Big East had an automatic-qualifying berth into a BCS bowl. That Big East had a lucrative television deal in the works. That Big East had a handful of decent football schools such as Louisville, West Virginia and Rutgers. That Big East had a reputation for being a great basketball league with tradition-rich programs such as Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Marquette, Louisville, etc.
"The new Big East has none of that. The league has lost a combined 17 members since 2005. The automatic BCS bowl bid and the lucrative TV deal are now gone. Louisville, West Virginia and Rutgers are gone. The storied basketball tradition -- if and when the Catholic schools depart – will be soon be gone."