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Tagliabue: Big East is being proactive about future


Skingraft

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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/football/ncaa/05/26/big.east.tagliabue.ap/index.html

DE PERE, Wis. (AP) -- Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue thinks the Big East Conference is being proactive about its future and sees cable giant ESPN as the key player in any long-term decisions the 16-member conference will make.

With conference expansion rumors swirling and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany perhaps looking at several Big East schools to add over the next year, Tagliabue said it makes no sense to wait.

"I don't think that anyone, not in the Big East, is waiting for the Big Ten," Tagliabue said Wednesday. "We're looking ahead proactively. It starts with ESPN. It starts with listening carefully to all of the university presidents so we have a proper balance between sports and academics."

The Big East's most recent six-year TV contract with ESPN runs out after 2013 for football and 2013-14 for basketball. The two have been affiliated with each other since both were founded in 1979.

Tagliabue was named a special adviser for the conference last month and is part of Georgetown University's board of directors. He was the keynote speaker at the Sport and Society in America conference in De Pere, Wis. near the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field.

Tagliabue spent 17 years as commissioner, shepherding the league into a new era with four new teams, massive TV contracts and labor peace until retiring in 2006. He took on the latest role advising the Big East as a volunteer.

"My piece is really in the immediate space, how to create value for conferences in this case without sacrificing the other values that universities need to preserve. It's going to be an interesting piece of work," Tagliabue said. "From the Big East perspective, a lot of it will start with discussions with ESPN. Depending on how they go, people would look at other alternatives, but it has to start with ESPN. That's where others have ended up. The SEC ended up there, the ACC ended up there. Beyond that, it's hard to speculate."

Sports economist Joel Maxcy of the University of Georgia said the lowest-risk option is to remain partners with ESPN.

"The Big East doesn't really have, in my opinion, a strong national football audience," Maxcy said. "I think that they would probably be even more risk adverse position than the SEC."

But it may not matter.

"I think that the economic forces would say if the conferences were going to consolidate, the first move would be into four, but there are some college sport traditions that make them cautious about doing this," Maxcy said. "When push comes to shove, the economic forces in the NCAA have won."

Tagliabue disagrees that universities that only feature major basketball programs will be cast aside.

"I think Marquette and DePaul are important pieces of the Big East," he said. "Part of the strength of the Big East is that it's got schools in cities of all sizes and it's got a mix of football and basketball that's very strong."

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If they are then we will here something big soon.  you would think being proactive would be jumping out ahead of the big 10 before they raid the conference.  my guess they have until the end of summer before the big 10 makes the call.

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He faces a tough task with the BB powers in the BE and schools with no football program it becomes much more difficult for the BE.  There is no easy answer.

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The BE don't have strong national football audiences. Because our top programs like the Cues, West Virgina, Louisville, and Rutgers. They either have been down or inconsistent. They haven't help with there on field performances. USF was helping a few years ago with being the cute story. But we end up with a bad rep of late season drop offs. I just don't see the BE surviving if there's another raid. We already is none as a weak conference. And if we bring in c-usa teams. The BE will be WEAKER. Unless we planning on bringing some ACC teams. Which we all know won't happen. The BE will be in trouble as a BCS conference.

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The BE don't have strong national football audiences. Because our top programs like the Cues, West Virgina, Louisville, and Rutgers. They either have been down or inconsistent. They haven't help with there on field performances. USF was helping a few years ago with being the cute story. But we end up with a bad rep of late season drop offs. I just don't see the BE surviving if there's another raid. We already is none as a weak conference. And if we bring in c-usa teams. The BE will be WEAKER. Unless we planning on bringing some ACC teams. Which we all know won't happen. The BE will be in trouble as a BCS conference.

I agree, although I think tcu and houston would be a positive addition.  especially if we only lose rutgers.  TCU(football, baseball)  Houston(football, basketball sometimes)

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  Still sounds like wait and see.  B10 just needs to make up its mind so we can concentrate on beating everyone on our schedule.

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I find it ironic that ESPN has given so much love to the Big Ten for so long and the Big Ten goes out and creates its own TV sports network.

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