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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How would Big East changes affect UofL Women's sports?



Would the Big East shrink to the size of these little fellas if conference raiding parties are successful in diluting the talent pool in the Big East?

It's a question that I've heard more than once. If the Big Ten and ACC are looking at the Big East with acquistion in their eyes...how badly would the league suffer. We all know the ramifications it would have in football..so we'll look at our side of the ledger here and see what it might do to a couple of Big East women's sports.

First, let's identify the players. The rumor mill has Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Syracuse and/or West Virginia as possible targets. No mention of Louisville, Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, USF or any others being pursued rabbits.

A loss of several of the candidates mentioned above would have a noticable effect on Big East women's basketball...but mostly in terms of just who would be the league runner up each year. Geno's stranglehold on conference and tournament titles is as tight as the spandex jogging pants my Aunt Annie forces on before her 1/2 hour prowling the interior of a local mall with her walking club. Rutgers, West Virginia, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh have all had good basketball teams over the past several years...Rutgers winning a NCAA Championship several years back...but the league would still have Louisville, St. John, DePaul, Marquette, Georgetown and USF has competitors to see who fills out the 2-4 slots of the tournament bracket. All are programs on the rise and are bringing in very good recruits in 2010 and beyond.

Women's softball...well, it's just hard to say. DePaul, Notre Dame and UofL are the "big three" in softball over the last several years...and a defection by the Irish would hurt. Rutgers softball is marginal. Pitt...playing softball at a .500 level. Syracuse doesn't show any signs of cracking the top three rankings and although the softball list is 13 teams strong, it doesn't include West Virginia.
Big East softball would survive any raiding attempts...but Notre Dame is currently the league's best.

Notre Dame figures pretty heavily into quite a few of the Big East women's sports selections. They swim well. The Irish carry a mean field hockey and lacrosse stick and are adept at volleyball, soccer, track and field and tennis. A defection of Irish sports to, let's say...the Big 10...would definitely decrease the overall talent and competition level in the Big East. And, end a few heated rivalries currently out there.

Now, a quick look at the possible replacements. I've heard Memphis, East Carolina, Central Florida, Marshall, the service academies and even Southern Miss mentioned. Why doesn't any of these names thrill and impress me? What possible addition enchancement could they bring to women's basketball or softball?

The sad bottom line is that if and when changes come in Big East realignment, women's sports will be an afterthought and sitting at the table with no cards to play. You see, it is all about the money generators..and those are football and men's basketball. That's not changing and never will.

We wait, we wonder and we worry what might happen...but in the final chapter...we're not a major character and will have no say in our fate and destiny. We're not driving this car and we have no idea in which direction it is headed. All we can do is look at the continued building and improvement of Cardinal women's sports. And it is a very strong program. It has leadership, success, top notch athletes and a very bright future. We will protect this house, we will continue to build on to and make improvements on this house and it is a very strong and secure house at that.

Tom and Julie have made sure of that. Why not thank them the next time you see one of them...

Written by Sonja
4/27/10

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