Will the Big East be able to keep up with the P5 long-term?

Courtesy – The Big East Conference

Ninety percent (90%) of Holyland of Hoops commenters said Yes!  Wow!

www.holylandofhoops.com  Basketball Message Forum.

One guy said no!  A brave soul indeed.  Just for sh_ts and grins I’ll be contrarian no. 2.

While the sky is Not falling and unlike some others who think “the BE is Doomed”, I am not nihilistic. However, the foreseeable future is not all ice cream, cake, and Rainbow Brite. The Big East needs to be vigilant, forward thinking, opportunistic, and aggressive in order to grow and maintain its’ status among the elite hoops conferences.

No, the BEast won’t be able to keep up. Why?

1). Just like back in the 70’s, the power conferences are still greedy. They want the whole NCAA Tourney. They colluded with the NCAA hicks in Shawnee Mission, KS. (now in Indianapolis) to kill off the independent universities (1977-78), forcing all universities into conference affiliations of one sort or another. (Note: the BE was birthed in 1979 as a result.). They are the driving force behind the continuous expansion of the tourney-more slots equal more berths for their teams on the “skewed” s-curve of the NCAA seeding chart. Their goal is to completely fill the tourney.

2). When a power conference secures 6-9 tourney bids ($2-4M per school) and when those same conferences payout 90% of tv revenues to schools ($18-30M per year), they don’t need to sink football monies into the hoops programs. They are making money hand over foot – but it won’t be enough. The P5 want complete control, total power, and zero outside interference or competition. The ego maniacs directing the B1G and SEC are power freaks, and once the non power conferences are Finally subdued – permanently, they will cannibalize their weaker big-boy brethren.

3).  This is about domination, ownership, and autonomy.  the B1Gs Delany and the SECs Sankey (successor of Slive) will continue their master plans for total control.  It should be noted that Sankey is one of the key architects of the P5 Autonomy Plan.  The Big East is an obstacle in the path…granted only in basketball, but we hold the MSG and a coveted TV region.  The BE must fall or be relegated to obscurity with the other 26 conferences.

a.  “Keep your friends close, and enemies closer.”  Both want power and control.  Delany is keeping the Big East closer…the B1G is not a friend.  When the perception is that we are weak(ened), the B1G will try to crush the BE and take MSG permanently.

b.  The SEC is quieter, sneaking around doing their work.  They still covet some of the ACC and will move to secure ACC teams when they feel it is time. With the 2019 horizon line for a new GOR and the ACC network, I expect the SEC to move within the next year or two.

c.  The ACC is desperately attempting to plug holes, stop the hemorrhaging by means of expansion, new GORs, and the attempt to get a network – incorrectly thinking that money solves all ills.  It doesn’t.  In the haste to get bigger, they have created an even worse set of problems – incompatibility.  They have grown into 2 conferences in one, BE-itis.  The ACC is the “new” Big East and the discord, dissention, and internal compatibility bleeding will cause an implosion.  Money cannot stop it.  The traditional members are pissed at the loss of identity, the incompatibility of the northerners, and in having to compromise their values for the newbies: the Syracuses, Pitts, and BCs, etc. The old guard will get fed up and cause the breakup.  The SEC is biding its’ time, waiting.

4. The BE is Fine. The Round Robin format is PERFECT. We don’t need to do anything, and expansion is dilution! :lol: :roll:   No, all is not “fine”.   As our fanbases sit around the campfire, content, happy, and resting on their big, fat “laurels”, we continue to see the P5’s hard at it: scheming, planning, plotting their best for total domination. Nations and armies could take ques from these folk. Hopefully the good folk at BE Conference HQ are not singing Kumbaya along with you good fans? If Val, Stu, Gavit Jr., and the rest are half as smart as advertised, they are hard at work. WE are at the end of Phase 1:

  • We escaped/evacuated a dying conference enterprise and revamped, reconfigured our group back into its’ original form.
  • We added 3 newbies (and would have been 5 IF there had been enough “great fits”).
  • We have competed well and have quieted the naysayers, the doubters, and the media experts.
  • We have won sufficiently to remain amongst the elite.

But, this is merely phase 1, not the endgame.

Expansion – for survival – is inevitable and it is also highly recommended for financial viability. The BE staff should be continually surveying the scene AND making discrete inquiries on select candidates. Being proactive in the search, evaluation, and communication with potential candidate schools is smart.  Identify, evaluate, and strike -the sooner the better. Waiting to see what leftovers shake out of the bushes in post P5 raiding is not. Take the top 2 candidates currently available now (Gonzaga/BYU or Gonzaga/VCU) and negotiate in earnest with potential future P5 candidates.

There are probably several disgruntled and/or struggling universities amongst the P5.

  • A few have made news regarding the weight of football on the overall university livelihood.
  • Several marginal football schools are losing money, even with the TV revenues growing.
  • Others are unhappy with the rapid growth of their “traditional” conference into a mega-conference, as they hardly recognize the new conference with all of the alien additions.

There are candidates amongst these groups that would be amenable to leaving before the cement of a 2019 “new” GOR firms up. A couple of conferences don’t have a GOR (SEC/MVC) so if a school wanted to leave – no problem. If the right candidates are available, the BE could/should assist their transition to the BE.

5. Grow our Revenues – Financial Incentives
a – Most here and on my home boards don’t favor padding the bottom to boost the top scenarios laid out by JPSchmack and the other guy. Most fail to perceive the benefit of gaming the system for additional NCAA bids. Most don’t see the BE as leaving NCAA bucks on the table. I am not surprised. However, by adding 2 schools we increase the odds of getting additional schools into the dance annually, which increases NCAA revenues by $1.6-1.8M minimum, per each additional school, over 6 years. We average 5 schools/per year now. By increasing to seven schools/yr adds $3.2-3.8M minimum to what we are getting now.

b – However, even as conference networks are “hitting the wall” with the media companies (notably the LHN and ESPN, and the potential ACC Network- now reworked to begin in 2019) the BE is primed to make headway in the newest media venue – online. The BEDN is optimally set to forge boldly ahead on the Internet with online content, streaming video and internet broadcasting of BE sports to both home and mobile platforms – across the board. The conference should forge ahead with all due haste to provide the broadest online access, expanding it’s content offerings, and building alliances and online partnerships. Growing the BEDN into a business in the neighborhood of $80-150M/year will provide approximately $5-10M/yr additional income per school.

c- The BE has opportunities to upscale its 2nd and 3rd tier Media rights packages. This should be the 2nd most important goal as the league moves forward. Member schools with limited deals or minimal deals may be better served by bundling their individual 2nd/3rd tier rights with an umbrella BE Conference Media rights package to maximize their income opportunities. Elite schools such as Villanova and Georgetown may be able to stand alone, but others may fare far better by hitching their rights to an overarching conference package.

The BE primary agenda should be on strengthening the conference, growing its’ war chest, and in gaining numbers.  Resting on our “laurels” may be fine for some…but it ain’t the best deal for the Big East Conference.