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BIG EAST KNOCKOUT DELAYED: SYRACUSE, PITT STUCK UNTIL 2014?
Fri, 14 Oct 2011 05:12 PM EDT

Syracuse and Pittsburgh have already been accepted into the Atlantic Coast Conference. But they are contractually obligated to remain members of the Big East for 27 more months before exiting. And Big East commissioner John Marinatto said he plans to hold them to that obligation, in an interview with the New York Times. Vegas odds

That would mean three more football seasons (including the current one) and three more basketball seasons with Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the Big East fold. But that remains unlikely. If the Big East wants to add other schools in order to survive, it will likely want to add them quickly — meaning Syracuse and Pittsburgh could be jettisoned sooner than that. 
Marinatto also lobbed a verbal grenade at ACC commissioner John Swofford, who said Sunday on the conference call announcing the additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh that the ACC would be interested in holding its postseason tournament at Madison Square Garden in the future. The Garden has been the home of the Big East tournament since 1983. Betting lines

“We have a track record of coming out stronger than we did before,” Marinatto said, referring back to 2003, when the ACC took three teams away from the Big East. “We may even hold the opening round of our basketball tournament in Greensboro.” 

So the question arises how has the mighty fallen so quickly? The Big East was at one time a powerhouse basketball conference with star players, legendary coaches and collegiate championships. In football, it had fought its way to respectability and began to yield god teams and star players that went on to great hall of fame careers like Donovan McNabb and Tony Dorset. 

So the problem is? The conference leadership has no vision or strategy to promote the conference. The ACC and others are proactive in marketing and expanding revenue opportunities for the athletic programs. The Big East has lost its “mojo” and the ACC has “cherry picked “ and taken the best they have to offer once again as they did in 2003. 

The upcoming loss of Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be the death sentence to a once feared basketball conference and a credible football tradition. Can the Big East rebound? Maybe, recruiting other schools to join after losing 2 marquee institutions will make it a difficult, if not impossible. Sports scores 


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