Blog Entry

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 5:34 pm

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Big East has been waiting for Villanova to make a decision on whether or not it would be joining the conference as its tenth football member, and it looks like the conference will need to wait a few more months. Villanova's Board of Trustees have spent the last couple of days discussing the subject, and though the school was expected to make its announcement on Tuesday, it released a statement on Monday morning saying that no such decision will be coming.

Though the delay seems to be more the Big East's doing than Villanova's.

"Villanova recently learned that the Big East Conference needs more time to do its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership," the university said in a statement. "Villanova is now working with the Big East to provide whatever additional information we can. It is the university’s desire that in the near future its Board of Trustees will proceed with the vote as planned."

Considering that the statement says the Big East needs more time, and that the school wants to proceed with its vote as planned, I'm inclined to believe that means Villanova wants to make the jump, and the Big East may be having some second thoughts. Again, that's just pure speculation on my part from an attempt to read between the lines.

While the schools concern over making the jump from the FCS to the FBS level is no doubt financial, the Big East is likely concerned with where Villanova would play its home games. At the moment the leader in the clubhouse for Villanova home games would be PPL Park in Chester, but the stadium as presently constructed holds only 18,000 fans. That would make PPL Park the smallest stadium in the Big East by far, with only Idaho and FIU having smaller stadiums in the FBS.

Of course, PPL Park does not have to be a long-term solution. It is possible that Villanova could move into Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, after the 2017 season, when Temple's lease expires.

Odds are that, even with concerns, the Big East will try to do everything it can to make this Villanova move work. While the conference wants to add a tenth member to the conference, it would also prefer not to add another school to a basketball conference that will already claim 17 teams once TCU makes the move next year.

Though if the conference decides Villanova is not a viable option, or Villanova ultimately decides against the move, that would mean Central Florida, Houston and Memphis would once again be in play.

[UPDATE, 5:30 pm: Big East commissioner John Marinatto has just released a statement on the matter. It is reprinted in full below.]

“The Big East Conference and Villanova University have worked closely with each other over the past several months regarding potential football membership. We will continue with our due diligence process and work with Villanova to continue to share relevant information and materials. The Big East Conference obviously very much values its long-standing relationship with Villanova and we are committed to continuing to work with them on this matter in an open and forthright manner. Until there is additional information to report, the conference plans no further comment.”


Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 5:14 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

The Big East was in danger of loosing its AQ status and its 25 million dollar payday from the bowls so it went half way across the country to add TCU. The idea that it wants to add another program like Villanova that will only weaken a perceieved weak league makes no sense. They have no stadium, they have no fans, and they have no program. FCS is not FBS or whatever they wish to call 1AA football. Top 50 in the country I think not. Football is about money and its tough to generate any when you have 18,000 fans. I will tip my hat to UConn for building a nice program but when given the chance the coach bolted to an ACC school. UConn competes with BC for players and thats about it. Nova is a good school academically but if a kid from PA wants to play ball they go to PSU and Pitt not Nova.

The Big East would be better served to seperate basketball from football. There are far better football programs around just as there are better basketball teams. If the Big East wants to maintain AQ status Nova is a bad selection they will be a doormat for years.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:37 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

It is a done deal! Nova is moving up with the Big Boys.  check out:  The 18,500 it seats is currently to small. The Big East just wants some assurances that it is expanding. Which is a definite cause the place is already to small for the Union which is selling out the place on a consistent basis. And soccer is only going to get bigger once it becomes more established in the Philly area. At a little above 30,000 it will still be the smallest venue in the Big East but the average attendance for football games amongst the Big East Schools is like 30,000 to 50,000 per game, it shouldn't be that a big of a deal. If it is than there other motives involved (Rutgers and Pitt not wanting to compete with Nova for recurits in the area) I think you will also see a Big game scheduled once a year at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies season is over in Novemeber vs either WVU, Pitt or Syracuse

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:13 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

I think that Villanova is one of the programs that if they were to play FBS football right now, they'd be top 50 teams, I think that Delaware, Appalachian State, James Madison, Georgia Southern, UMass Amherst, Eastern Washington, and Montana could all move up into FBS right now and not embarrass themselves.

That said, Villanova doesn't have the attendance nor the stadium to be a solid FBS team at the moment. Of course, that could change. A lease in Chester could be a stepping stone to help Villanova gain enough funding to expand their stadium to about 35,000 or so. That's all they really need for the foreseeable future. Getting that BCS money would certainly help!

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:45 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

I agree that the Big East should seriously consider a split between football and basketball.  There are already too many teams in the basketball conference.  Perhaps a college "CYO" basketball conference is in order:  Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova, St. Johns, Xavier, Marquette, Providence, Boston College, Depaul, Siena/U Dayton.  Not bad, eh?

Add BYU even though they are far instead of BC and it should be a done deal! The mega conference big east thing is really pointless. Regardless if all those teams are in the conference or not you can still schedule them. And you can be in the worst conference in America and make the NCAA tournament sure they would be fine with a league that featured Georgetown, ND, Nova, and St. John......

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:37 am

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

I agree that the Big East should seriously consider a split between football and basketball.  There are already too many teams in the basketball conference.  Perhaps a college "CYO" basketball conference is in order:  Georgetown, Notre Dame, Villanova, St. Johns, Xavier, Marquette, Providence, Boston College, Depaul, Siena/U Dayton.  Not bad, eh?

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: April 12, 2011 11:35 am

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

Agreed. If ND wants in, then go add ND, UCF and ECU.
If ND doesnt stay, then add Memphis.  Marquette I think also has some merit as a football school.  They could probably fill a closed-roof Miller Park.

When does the NCAA basketball contract expire.  I could see an ND all-in the Big East being attractive to NBC for them to re-enter the college bball broadcast scene. 

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 10:09 am

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

Those are all good points about ECU I forgot about them but for some reason the Big East doesn't seem very interested. They obviously want UCF second even if last season was their best season they actually have more potential than all the teams currently in the conference if they can make their students stop supporting the other Florida schools.

If they ever go to twelve ECU would be a good school to take but this is the gimmick. Including South Carolina of the SEC when is the last time a Carolina school honestly did anything? ECU draws in a amazing amount of fans for a non AQ team and honestly beat all those teams when they weren't as good as they are now. In the early 2000's Boise was good but just top 25 good I remember the Tech victory everyone was amazed until ECU flopped in conference play.

Great team but I think the Big East is trying to become a force well until they said Villanova. TCU was a great team to add UCF would also be they would really improve the conference. Then I would go after Houston and ECU/Memphis.

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:48 am

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

The Big East needs to make up its mind in what they are trying to accomplish with this expansion. TCU was a needed addition because their record for the past 2 seasons counts for the Big East in maintaining their AQ status. The conference had no interest in their basketball program but their hand was forced as it was desperate for a football power with the record to back it up.

Villanova has no stadium to play in and draws roughly 15,000 fans to its games. Where is the school coming up with the 100 million to build a stadium or have a fanbase that will fill the seats?

Some have suggested Memphis would be a good fit just look at what they bring to the table, The Tigers are 3-22 over the last 2 seasons and draw a mere 23,000 fans to its games hardly what is needed. Houston a solid program but has no ties to the northeast and draws 31,000 fans. UCF had their best season last year and finished ranked inside the top 25 for the 1st time in school history. Despite having 53,000 students the school does not draw 40,000  to its games.

The other team that nobody mentions is East Carolina. ECU is 8-2 all time vs UCF, been to 5 straight Bowl games and draws 50,000 fans to its games 12,000 more than the nearest CUSA school. The Pirates have also beaten Pitt, WVU, Cincy, Louisville, Syracuse, TCU, Stanford, Boise, Miami, UNC, NCState, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, and many others. ECU would give the Big East a school in the heart of ACC country.

 Central Florida and Houston clearly have larger markets but that does not mean fans are showing up and supporting their teams. Memphis brings nothing other than a solid basketball team. ECU has an established program with fan support and should be mentioned in the discussion. Penn State and Pitt dominate college football in PA it would be a huge finicial risk for Villanova to take the plunge.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: April 11, 2011 9:20 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

IMO the Big East needs to split from basketball. Too many basketball only members are hurting this conference from really expanding. The Big East should have a total of 12 football / basketball teams in it's conference.

They shouldn't split because basketball brings them big time revenue. They should expand to twelve football teams then keep basketball at twenty teams. I mean they already are going to have 17 adding TCU. Adding three more teams to have a twelve team football conference won't be the end of the world considering teams play over thirty games a season.

They may have to slack down on some of the prime time matchups but it's not like they aren't six top 25 teams in the Big East already. As long as they schedule a few ACC and Big Ten teams they would be fine with 20 conference teams.

However, I think the 17 team thing is bogus anyway De Paul, George Town and the rest of those religon based schools only serve as bottom feeders who can occastionally get hot. They would be better of kicking ND and tell them to form a christian school conference. Pitt, Uconn, Syracuse are the teams you expect to win championships. Memphis is not much of a drop of from half of the non football memers trust me.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: April 11, 2011 9:14 pm

Villanova's Big East decision delayed [UPDATED]

Enough already. Boot 'Nova, Depaul, Providence, St. Johns and Seton Hall out and add UCF all sports. Or actually grow some BALLS and finally force Notre Dame to make a decision all the way in or all the way out. As a 'Cuse fan and follower of the Big East since its inception I want a strong conference safe from any poachers that can stand on its own two feet and dictate its own TV terms.

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