Syracuse’s to End Big East Tradition?

Although it was announced last fall that Syracuse would leave the Big East, the conference they had a huge influence in creating, fans here in central New York are still not ready to say goodbye. There could be two more seasons in the Big East, but more than likely, 2012-2013 will be the Orange’s final school year in the conference.

The University of Pittsburgh, of course, will be joining Syracuse as both schools move to the Atlantic Coastal Conference. Although it was not an original member like Syracuse, Pittsburgh did join the Big East two years after its creation 1980.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but the downfall of the Big East could have easily been predicted in the early stages of the conference. The Big East was founded to be a strong basketball conference, but the money from TV revenue is not in basketball, it is in football.

Then, when the Big East tried to strengthen its football standing in the 1990’s, the instability only got worse. Because of a very strange alignment, some Big East schools had all Division I sports and other schools had all Division I sports except football. One school, Notre Dame, had a football team, but elected to keep it independent. This lead to major bickering between the two groups of schools, and the football schools departed.

Maybe the Big East did not realize that the money was in football and not basketball? Maybe the only way to get Notre Dame into the conference at all was to allow them to keep their independent football team? Lots of questions could be asked, but poor decisions have led to the decline of the Big East.

Not only are Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving, so has West Virginia who has already left for the Big XII. The conference will pick up six new members in 2013, Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF, but it will not be the same. And it will not be the same for Syracuse.

No longer will Syracuse play twice Georgetown and Villanova twice a season in basketball. Syracuse won’t play UConn anymore either. And maybe most significantly, no longer will the Orange play in Madison Square Garden for the Big East tournament which they have been doing for over 45 years.

Obviously, new rivalries will form, and Syracuse will look to improve their football team as they will now be in a better conference to do so. As for basketball, the closest thing to the Big East is the ACC, who has Duke and North Carolina. But it just will not be the same, and 2012-2013 could be the last year it will feel the same.