Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Big East defections leave USF Bulls in limbo

As the Big East exodus continues with the league's seven basketball-centric Catholic schools planning to exit and form their own league, USF is left in limbo as far as its future. Here's a look at where things stand:

What are the chances the Catholic schools will stay?

Poor. Big East commissioner Mike Aresco reportedly told athletic directors of the current and future football programs Thursday night that he expects the seven schools to leave.

Will that leave the Big East with enough schools to compete?

Yahoo.com reported Friday that the league is set on having its football season with 12 teams next fall. On Tuesday, the league announced home and road opponents for all schools. What the league looks like beyond that is in question.

What are the chances USF could join another major conference, such as the ACC or Big 12?

ACC and Big 12 members earn about $17 million to $20 million in payouts from the league, so a new member has to generate enough new revenue to justify a piece of that pie. Those leagues have little incentive to add a member who would cause other schools to earn less.

USF's strongest asset is the Tampa Bay television market, which ranks 14th in the country. But the passion for football isn't quite as high. Tampa Bay tied Louisville for 20th in ratings for ESPN games at 2.1.

Because USF is a relatively young school that started playing football in 1997, it doesn't have the generations of fan support more established programs have.

What other options might USF have?

The Sporting News reported Friday that Cincinnati and Connecticut, both of whom have lobbied for invitations to the ACC, are investigating the possibility of forming a new league that would include remnants of the Big East and the Mountain West, including USF and possibly UCF.

Could the Big East have prevented this?

The league was founded with a basketball focus and as football has become the dominant force, the nonfootball members' resentment built. But as long as the financial rewards were better, the seven Catholic schools had incentive to stay.

The league made a major mistake when it rejected a $1.17 billion television rights offer from ESPN last year. Some schools, including ones that later defected, lobbied for the Big East to hold out for a bigger offer as Fox and NBC Sports Network sought to beef up their programming. Instead, defections have dramatically reduced the Big East's bargaining position, opening the door for the Catholic schools to believe they can make more in their own league.

Will the Big East maintain its position among the BCS automatic qualifiers?

Next season is the last one for the current BCS system before a four-team playoff system is implemented. Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director, told cbssports.com in an email it's "premature and inappropriate" to determine whether the league will retain its automatic qualifier status in 2013 in the wake of wholesale changes to the league. Starting in 2014, only the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 will have automatic qualifier status for the major bowls. In addition, the highest-ranked team among the other conferences — Big East, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt — will earn a berth in a major bowl.

Big East defections leave USF Bulls in limbo 12/14/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 14, 2012 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494