While Marquette’s current conference may be able to maintain its “elite” status for the next few years, with new additions coming at the end of this school year and Pittsburgh and Syracuse’s exits, that won’t last very long.
Now Notre Dame is the latest defector. They’re headed out to the east coast as well to join the likes of Duke and North Carolina in the ACC.
The exit of the Fighting Irish is much bigger than that of the Panthers or Orange. While rumors of Notre Dame’s departure have been around for a while, the Fighting Irish seemed like they would hang around to help the Big East stay above water.
But it’s all about the money.
The ACC has much more financial potential than the Big East, and even if Notre Dame isn’t joining the conference for football, a lucrative television deal with ESPN sure can be convincing.
Let’s face it: while in other sports the Big East is extremely competitive, in football it is starting to look more and more inferior as the years go on.
Schools like Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida are all probably frantically looking to get out to somewhere that will have a BCS bid in a couple years. I would be shocked if the Big East even has one for much longer.
Notre Dame was the program that expressed its loyalty to working something out with the Big East, and to avoiding having to do something like this. The Fighting Irish wanted to stay in the only conference they have ever been associated with, but in the end, they couldn’t, and who can blame them?
Moving to the ACC makes that conference elite when it comes to college basketball. While the Big East still has Marquette, Connecticut and Georgetown, that doesn’t compare to Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Fighting Irish saw that and knew it was the best place for them to be.
While Notre Dame is one of Marquette’s biggest rivals and its leaving the Big East could be all the more reason for Golden Eagles fans to dislike the school, they shouldn’t.
It makes too much sense. Why stay on a sinking ship while there is another that wants you, one that looks like the coolest yacht you’ve ever seen?
With all of this being said, Marquette is going to be just fine. As negative as this sounds for the Big East, the Golden Eagles are still a fairly hot commodity.
Think about it: a school that has been successful and has established programs already in existence in all major sports besides football, with lacrosse on the way, is fairly attractive.
If a conference could just add Marquette for basketball and not have to worry about football, that’s also a plus. While a few conferences may not want to have a school without football taking up a spot, it is very possible.
In the end, Marquette’s likely destination is a non-football conference where it doesn’t have to worry about all of this. Schools like Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, DePaul and Villanova would be happy to make that happen, and eventually, something like that is the likely final destination for Marquette.
For now, though, enjoy the Big East while we still have it. Give Pittsburgh and Syracuse hell until they leave, and do the same for Notre Dame. But don’t do it because the Fighting Irish are leaving the Big East. Do it because Marquette just doesn’t really get along with Notre Dame when game time arrives.