It was finally announced Wednesday that Memphis will be the latest addition to the Big East. This is a milestone for Memphis who had been trying to upgrade its conference for years. The last time Memphis made a push to join the Big East was 2005 and they were rejected, but this time the Big East was looking for help after losing three top programs and the addition of Memphis was truly needed.
The current Big East is in a precarious situation. They are losing teams right, left, and center and need to do something to stop the bleeding. Memphis joining the Big East helps solidify the basketball prowess the Big East was originally built on. Some of this prowess will soon be seriously depleted with the upcoming departures of Syracuse, West Virginia, and Pitt. Memphis is a perennial basketball heavyweight with 10 straight 20-win seasons, 23 tournament appearances, and 3 Final Fours. They make a great addition to the basketball schedule next winter.
College conferences all went through major shakeups last year when programs decided to boldly jump conferences to put football first. Football is clearly the most profitable sport in college athletics and colleges have been eagerly re-aligning their conference affiliations to maximize this moneymaker. Unfortunately, this means all other sports have been all but forgotten. Even sports with mass appeal like men’s basketball has been largely forgotten in this conference jumping.
The magic number for all NCAA conferences is now 12. This is the number of football programs a conference needs to have in order for them to have a conference championship game. Why would conferences want conference championship games? Money. Money. Money.
Although Big East commissioner John Marinatto insists there will be no more additions to the Big East this year, he admits he is eager to add one more university. For basketball fans lets just hope it’s a school that knows how to do more than run with the ball, but also hoop with it. On the bright side, now the Louisville vs. Memphis rivalry will be a Big East affair. Who said change is all bad?
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