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Early Move Possible, Not Probable (Trib)


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Early Move Possible, Not Probable

By BRETT McMURPHY bmcmurphy@tampatrib.com

Published: Nov 6, 2003

 

TAMPA - Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said it's ``possible'' but ``not probable'' that C- USA's five teams could leave for the Big East a year early in 2004.

However, Banowsky said if C-USA's Board of Directors want him to explore moving the conference shuffling to 2004, he would look into it.

``In a perfect world, people want to move forward and implement changes immediately,'' Banowsky said. ``Unfortunately major college athletics is not such a perfect world.

``It's a very complex system that has conference and institutions relating to each other with future schedules and business relationships impacted.''

South Florida, Cincinnati, Marquette, Louisville and DePaul are scheduled to join the Big East in 2005 with Central Florida and Marshall (from the Mid-American) and Rice, Tulsa and SMU (from the Western Athletic) set to join C- USA in 2005.

In all there could be six conferences involving 17 to 21 schools changing leagues. The majority of the schools - including USF, Louisville and Cincinnati - changing conferences prefer to do so for 2004.

If the changes don't occur until 2005, then about 15 percent of Division I-A's 117 football members will compete as lame-duck members in their respective conferences in 2004-05.

``Some very obvious dominoes have been set in motion,'' said a high-ranking official in college athletics. ``With the larger migration of schools from one conference to another, it seems like a natural outcome. I wouldn't be surprised in the next 30 days if this [moving in 2004] isn't resolved.''

Tulane President Scott Cowen said if there is a ``compelling argument'' from the C- USA schools changing leagues he thinks ``everyone would listen.''

``We originally said [the changes would take place in] '05, but I don't think it's a closed issue, especially if it could be a smooth transition,'' Cowen said.

Southern Miss Athletic Director Richard Giannini and Rice AD Bobby May said they are in favor of keeping the 2005 timetable. Tulsa President Bob Lawless said he would follow the recommendation of AD Judy MacLeod.

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said he would not contact Banowsky about adding the new members in 2004, but would wait to hear from Banowsky.

If Banowsky is interested, Tranghese said the Big East presidents ``would consider it immediately.''

One reason for Banowsky's reluctance to allow the five schools to leave early is C-USA would lose several hundred thousand dollars generated by basketball powers Cincinnati, Louisville and Marquette.

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That would interesting.  Looks like C-USA has become a sinking ship.  Is it probable or possible that the Big East will not be part of the BCS after 2005?  Also, how will that possibility affect recruiting?

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I don't thhink it will really affect recruiting ... it will only be positive as these kids most likely won't play until 2005 any way ...

The good thing is ... this recruiting class will be seniors when we play the gayterds. This will help in future recruiting also IMO.

Go BULLS !!!

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In the transcript of the Big East press conference, Tranghese basically said they would only take the new schools early if C-USA wanted them to leave early. Which means it's up to Banowsky to make a decision. So I'm not holding my breath.

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