February 27, 2013
Well, everything else about the conference is about to change, why not the name?
That's a possibility for the Big East Conference, which just got a new - albeit, low paying - television deal from ESPN, according to a story by CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler.
It was possibly part of the plan in the conference's failed TV deal with NBC, in which they could sell the name to the seven catholic schools that will break away from the conference to form their own league. The provision would provide the Big East (or what is currently the Big East) $2 million NBC could've used to market a new conference name.
That deal could be included in the deal with ESPN. A document was sent to the Catholic Seven in December, with a section of that document asking if they'd like to retain the conference's name.
Let's be honest, it'd no longer be the Big "East", anyway. Even without Boise State and San Diego State, there's still Tulane, Memphis and SMU coming into the conference. Even though it hasn't really been "east" since the inclusion of Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati and DePaul in 2005.
As Fowler points out, the name change probably holds more meaning to the basketball schools, who shaped the culture of the old Big East Conference. Though, when you think about it, the only team sticking around in the "new" Big East that will care about the name is Connecticut. They helped make the Big East into what it was in the 80s and 90s. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and, at least from a more modern standpoint, Louisville - who helped up the conference's stature in the 00s - are all bolting for the ACC.
The article also brings up the issue of how much money selling the conference name could bring in. If it does bring in a high-dollar amount, say around eight digits, this is a viable option. And honestly, it's a good one. Conference's have been changing names forever, there's just more money in realignment and it's more high-profile now. Names aren't as sacred as they used to be.
So why not sell off the name? To traditionalists who value the memories of a great conference in its prime, it's better to look back at the Big East Conference and remember the good times, rather than know that there is still a Big East Conference that isn't even a shell of its former self, it's a total genetic mutation.
Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten