Day one of the Big East Spring meeting is in the books – and the conference is still intact!
Representatives of the various schools (present and future) met in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to deal with big-picture items as the Big East navigates through a shifting landscape of conference realignment in college sports.
Two significant – and positive – developments were reported:
First, representatives of NBC and FOX made presentations to express interest broadcasting Big East games when the current contract with ESPN expires. Negotiations are to be finalized and a new contract ratified in the fall. With other networks interested, the league should be able to expect a competitive process to secure broadcast rights.
Secondly, Boise St. athletic director Mark Coyle reaffirmed the school’s commitment to the league beginning with the 2013 football season. Although the school has yet to secure a place for its non-football sports, the smurf turf will host Big East games next year.
Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman offered these quotes from Coyle:
• On the Broncos’ commitment to the Big East: "Nothing’s changed. We’re here at the conference meetings. It’s great to learn a great deal about the conference and the direction and all that."
• On the placement of Boise State’s other sports: "We continue to explore all options. We’ve got ... 19 sports, we want to make sure we find a good home for all our sports and we continue to examine all of our options and continue to gather information in the changing landscape."
• On the future of the WAC: "We still have conversations with them. We’re trying to gather information. It’s changing for everybody. We’re in a unique spot because of the WAC and what they’ve gone through with some of the transformation they’ve had. We continue to talk with everybody and try
to find the best long-term decision for our institution."
• On why the Big East is the best home for the football program: "When that decision was made five months ago, it gave our program an opportunity on a national level with our institution and what we’re trying to do. We feel comfortable with that."
• On whether Boise State has had conversations with the Mountain West about staying?: "No. I attended MWC meetings a few weeks ago. We’re in that transitional year. Again, we want to continue to evaluate the landscape and make the best long-term decision for our program."
• On whether BCS automatic-qualification status played into Boise State’s decision to join the Big East: "No, not at all. When the decision was made, that was part of the thought process, that the AQ would go away, so that was not part of the process when we made that decision."
Tomorrow, participants are scheduled to review new division, schedule and playoff proposals.
SI.com's Andy Staples also had a reflection on the day's events and the league's future.