Big East Media Day at the New York Athletic Club was not really about the upcoming season or the players on the court. It was clearly more about realignment, expansion and the moving landscape of college athletics. Almost every coach had something to say on the subject except for Jim Boeheim, who decided he’s already said enough. However, the coach who’s leaving with Boeheim, Jamie Dixon, addressed whether it would have an impact on recruiting:
“It’ll change a little bit of what we do, but not much. We know who we are and the factors like geography, the university, being in the best conference in the country, those are the things we anticipate staying the same.”
Clearly Dixon believes it’s only minor changes and the new ACC will become the best conference in the country. He also discussed whether the crowds would be any tougher on the road now that everybody knows Pitt and Syracuse are on their way out:
“I don’t think that’s possible. The Villanova student section has been very close by us and Syracuse, and we respect it, but we certainly don’t want it to change. It’s why our kids come here to play against big hostile crowds.”
Cincy coach Mick Cronin played down the role of his colleagues in the room.
“Nobody cares what the coaches think anyway, lets be honest we have no say so in the whole thing. Obviously I love the Big East, hopefully they’ll add the teams they need to add and maybe with Syracuse leaving it opens up doors for us to get a little more publicity.”
You have to appreciate his honesty and it’s an interesting point. The Panthers and Orange garner a lot of attention, potentially giving some of other schools an opportunity to shine.
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Coaches weren’t the only ones talking expansion. The Electrician/Commissioner John Marinatto once again reiterated Syracuse and Pitt will not be allowed to leave early.
“Absolutely not. No, no we have no intention of doing that. Period, exclamation point, end of sentence.”
That’s the definition of bitter beer face. Despite a near consensus around college basketball these two schools should be allowed to leave sooner, Marinatto simply won’t let go. One of the proponents of instant defections is the outspoken and hypocritical Rick Pitino.
“If we were to leave we wouldn’t want to stay 27 months. Jim is going to be in an uncomfortable situation for him and wherever he travels. He’s very endearing, at least to all the fans anyway and it makes it very uncomfortable. So I think the best solution is double the thing to 10 million and you’re out. And every coach that stays gets a million.”
Pitino drew laughs, but his point is almost universally agreed with – find a way to let Syracuse and Pitt out sooner. Being a lame duck school for over two years isn’t good for the programs or the league. Despite Marinatto’s strong comments some, including Maryland AD Kevin Anderson, believe SU/Pitt will not be held to the current time line. One thing is certain: a day that was supposed to be about the current season became more about future ones.
Posted: Alex Plavin