New York, NY- After posting the article yesterday about the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry that will no longer exist after this NCAA year comes to an end, the realization of the entire Big East conference changing hit me like wrecking ball to a run down tenement. Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville will now be playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference against the likes of Duke and North Carolina. Sounds to me like some dream match ups for the hardcore basketball fans. The problem for me is that it just doesn’t seem genuine.
College basketball has become big business for Universities over the country. The storied rivalries and classic moments given to us from great college ball players and the countless venues that remain historic, won’t stop the business as usual approach. Its a shame to see these schools leave such a powerhouse of a conference. It is a smack in the face to the college basketball fans who grew up on this. But just as well as these schools can honestly care less about these kids that they woo to come to their Universities, only to rake in dollars to their athletic departments, they don’t care about the fans either. This is all about the bottom line and the bottom line is that there are more dollars in the ACC rather than the Big East.
Syracuse, for example will look better on TV, playing against North Carolina twice a year rather than a Seton Hall or a Villanova. Believe it or not though fans are absolutely sour about the authenticity of the conferences, they will have a short memory come December when this is a prime time match up on ESPN.
So we bid adieu to the Patrick Ewing era, the Derrick Coleman’s, the Pearl Washington’s. The “real” Big East tournament that consisted of the Allen Iverson crossover’s, the Jim Macnamara jump shots and John Thompson sweat towels. We’ll miss Mark Jackson and Chris Mullin and even St. John’s own Coach Lou C. God bless him. It was a good run but now its time to say goodbye to what was.