Talk has been circling about for years – mainly by Creighton fans, for the formation of a Catholic League/Conference. The thought is that either Catholic colleges or more specifically, Jesuit Catholic colleges/universities “should” band together to form a super conference of the more notable Jesuit Universities in the US. This is a wonderful and laudable Idea, as such a conference could boast of several big-time catholic universities: Marquette, Georgetown, Boston College, Xavier, & Gonzaga. Several recognizable, but not quite Primetime universities could also be a part of the mix: Canisius, Creighton, Detroit, Fairfield, Fordham, 2 of the 4 Loyolas (Chicago & Marymount), San Francisco, Seattle, St Joe’s (Philly), and St Pete’s (NY). A 12 team conference is the one most bandied about. As great an idea as it is, several fansite commentors have pointed out that it is not very feasible, as the marquee universities, those with BE and ACC affiliations, gain little from such a union.
Another aspect is Sports Illustrated’s writer Stewart Mandel’s notion of the “Major League” conference of so-called Mid-Majors. Comprised of Butler, VCU, Memphis, Xavier, and others. Mandel puts forth the most compelling argument for a new conference – increased revenues (money).
Lastly, over at the Creighton Bluejay fansites, folks are now talking in terms of an annual Jesuit Tourney…promoted by the Assoc of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), with the requisite sponsors-TV-and promotion. Notably either a big tourney – 8 to 16 entrants – with rotating participants; or a smaller type affair. This idea also has merit, but the politics and logistics of such a venue need to be worked out.
All-Catholic/All Jesuit conference, a midmajor “Major League” super-conference, or an annual exempt Jesuit Tournament, all are novel ideas at a time of flux within the collegiate basketball landscape. All are ideas that appear to have some staying power. It remains to be seen whether any can grow past ideation and vision, whether any can develop into reality. College Basketball would be richer for it, if one or more of these ideas reaches fruition.