UConn's Calhoun holds court on Big East expansion
PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- The key decisions in deciding how the Big East expands in football won't be made by coaches or even athletic directors, but UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, fresh off his third national championship, weighed in with reporters at the conference's annual meetings, saying his personal belief is that the league will split into football and basketball entities in four or five years.
"My own personal opinion, and I won't probably see this, in the next couple of years, four or five years down the road, I think you'll see a separation. I think it's inevitable," he said. "If you go to 18, oh, boy. We're talking about going to 17, creates enough different issues. I think if you had 10 of us (in football), they would pick up Xavier, Dayton. Now they're right at 10 and they've got a great league. That's what I think could happen. I think it's a great draw."
The Big East will go to 17 teams for basketball with the addition of TCU in 2011-12, and the league is pondering adding a 10th member for football that could push that basketball number to 18. Big East commissioner John Marinatto reiterated Monday that he is confident the revenue generated by a new TV contract next year will be strong enough to keep his football and non-football members happy in the league as a single entity.
Asked which schools he would look at for expansion if he were commissioner, Calhoun had this to say:
"Here is what I think is going to happen. This is nothing more than conjecture. I like sexy names. So what names? Central Florida would be good, but it's not a sexy name right now. Yes it has I think the largest population enrollment of any school in all of Florida. I don't think if I was South Florida I would care about that, having them come in, so close by. I've always liked the name Memphis as a name. And it's an in-and-out city, so it has some advantages. Villanova, certainly if they can upgrade their football they've got a very good coach. Temple never made it in Philly. That's the only thing that scares me. Only thing that scares me. It's still pretty close to a pro town except for basketball. It's the Big Five and pro sports. I don't know."