Well my friends, the time has come. The wheels of conference realignment have started spinning and to UConn’s credit they are acting instead of reacting. Reports are that the Big East (c. 2013) will be announcing the addition of UConn on Thursday, with the move from the AAC taking place in 2020, pending a lot of lawyering.
We broke down winners and losers, looked at what this means more specifically for football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball, and knocked out a quick reaction podcast too. Generally, The UConn Blog is in favor of the move, as recent developments have seen the Husky athletic department slip in ways that were magnified by being in a conference that was never an ideal fit.
Here are a few interesting takes from around the world of sports. The New York Times wrote an article too but I ain’t tryna buy that:
“It will be a disaster for UConn football. ... Maybe it’s the right calculation. Maybe UConn’s moment really had passed. If the ACC or Big 12 were going to expand — and there’s no indication that’s in the works right now — it’s hard to imagine the Huskies being particularly high in the pecking order unless ESPN (whose headquarters are in Connecticut) absolutely demanded it. ...
UConn has decided, maybe correctly, that it is a basketball school and a basketball school only. And frankly, as much as UConn fans and administrators thought they were too good to be in the AAC, it’s not like the Huskies brought much of value in the first place.”
“UConn won’t chase a football national championship in our lifetime, the Power 5 ship has sailed and the university’s true brand must be re-established and strengthened. For a handful of years the stance in Storrs seemed to be that the proud basketball programs would thrive through the power of their own volition and rich history while the university pursued a the Power 5 pipe dream.
No more of that. Nothing comes at the expense of UConn basketball and nothing should. You place your most valuable pieces accordingly and let the rest fall into place from there.”
“Connecticut is a college basketball state. Has been. Is. Probably always will be.
The crown jewels of basketball must be guarded. Maybe those who occupy the president’s chair and the athletic director’s office, despite all the rabid football boosterism they have voiced publicly, finally have come to grips with this. ...
Best of all, a move to the Big East plays into Jersey Dan Hurley’s and UConn’s wheelhouse. New York, New England, New Jersey, anywhere within a couple hundred miles of Madison Square Garden, the move will help UConn’s basketball recruiting markedly. With passing years, the 1999, 2004, 2011, 2014 national titles lose some of their immense cache.”
“For the AAC, the loss of UConn is not expected to impact the television deal significantly. In the contract language, the departure of just one school from the AAC wouldn’t trigger a termination of the deal from ESPN. ...
UConn brought a unique value to the league in basketball with two programs with multiple championship pedigrees. But as the years went on, the arenas in Connecticut emptied and the football team atrophied into a laughing stock. As UConn watched its only neighbors like Pitt and Syracuse cash big checks in the ACC and Villanova win national titles in the Big East, the only logical move for the school was to go back all-in on basketball.”
“UConn does not plan to move its football program out of the FBS as it looks for a new home. ... UConn’s departure from the AAC and the future landing spot for its football program could cause a mini-round of conference realignment, an on-campus source told Dodd. An 11-team AAC would make the league the FBS’s second-smallest conference next to the Big 12.”
“First, for those believing UConn shouldn’t have given up the P5 dream..that dream was never going to come to fruition. ...
Second, the NBE has outperformed their TV contract handily. And not only have their TV #s been way better than forecast, they’ve won 2 National Championships in the last 4 years. So the conference’s contract is way under-valued. The problem is, they signed a long-term contract that doesn’t expire until spring 2026. The only way their contract can be opened back up for revaluation by Fox, is if there is a change in their membership. Adding UConn allows the Big East to bring their contract up to market value based on the Big East’s performance on TV the past 5-6 years + UConn’s value. So that contract is going to seriously, seriously jump in value.”
UConn’s decision to move back to the Big East is great for the conference. It’s great for Creighton. It’s an exciting and proper reset for UConn sports.
“It’s also worth pointing out that UConn was not happy with the new AAC media deal. The Huskies were concerned that the new deal would, “Disrupt the lifestyle” of UConn fans. Essentially, the administration was concerned that they would no longer have games shown on SNY, a local New York sports station. They were also concerned about the emphasis the new deal puts on streaming games, on ESPN+.
This means that UConn also feels leaving for the Big East will lead to better exposure for their programs.”
“UConn is a basketball school. They have the highest profile women’s basketball program in the country. They’ve won multiple national titles in mens’s basketball. The interest in these programs outstrips that of football. ...
UConn is never going to be in a major conference now. Their football program probably won’t ever accomplish anything meaningful at the FBS level ever again. To some, that’d be the death knell of an athletic program.”
“The UConn men’s basketball program program is ass at this point. ...
I’d imagine that UConn’s sales pitch for joining the conference was a combination of the athletic department and children in the Make-A-Wish program repeating, “Remember Jim Calhoun?” over and over again until Val Ackerman was so desperate for a reason to stop looking at next year’s basketball roster that she actually listened.”
Honestly, this is my favorite take of them all, from a Georgetown fan:
ME: man, uconn shoud really be back in the big east.— Talkin B. Practice (@talkinbpractice) June 22, 2019
UCONN: [comes crawling back]
ME: Fuck uconn.