Blog Entry

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 4:02 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier today I posted about Big East commissioner John Marinatto saying that the conference was not going to sit around and wait for a decision from Villanova before making a possible move on conference expansion. Were the Big East decide to not make Villanova its tenth football member, the odds on favorite to receive a Big East bid would be UCF. Though there may be a problem with adding UCF, as there are some rumors that USF isn't all that enthused about sharing a piece of the pie with another school inside the state of Florida.

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi wrote a column on Wednesday discussing the rumors.
Hopefully, all of the whispers you hear about the University of South Florida trying to block UCF from gaining an invitation to the Big East are emanating from message boards and not meeting rooms.
But I'm starting to wonder.
Really wonder.
"We have been hearing this, too," UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said in an e-mailed response to the Sentinel about USF obstructing UCF's potential path into the Big East. "We hope it's not true, because our joining the Big East would clearly be a win-win for both universities."
Here's all you need to know about Heston's response: If he is issuing a public statement of any kind on the issue, then UCF President John Hitt is clearly concerned that the Bulls may be lobbying against UCF joining them in the prestigious and profitable Big East. Heston would not issue a statement of any kind unless Hitt put his stamp of approval on it.
Then there is USF's suspicious silence on this issue. When I tried to contact USF President Judy Genshaft last week and early this week to ask her feelings about the Big East potentially inviting UCF, the university's publicity department said she would have no comment on the issue. "All Big East expansion inquiries need to be directed to Big East Commissioner John Marinatto," a school publicist said in an e-mail. "He is the sole spokesperson on this issue."
Bianchi goes on to say that the silence from USF on the matter is somewhat damning, especially in light of the fact that other Big East coaches like Louisville's Rick Pitino and South Florida's own Skip Holtz have commented publicly on the idea of UCF joining the Big East.

Now, again, nobody knows for sure that South Florida is looking to keep Central Florida out of the Big East, but given the history and silence, it doesn't seem like it's that crazy of a theory. South Florida has enjoyed the money that comes with playing in a Big East conference, and if it's going to have to start sharing that money with two new schools, I can see why it wouldn't want to share the dough with an in-state rival. Recruiting in the state of Florida is hard enough as it is, given the other programs in the state and the fact that schools all across the country come to raid the plethora of football talent the state produces.

Giving another school in the state BCS resources would only make things tougher on USF.

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: May 25, 2011 4:51 pm

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

"HUGE" turnout to games?  Are you serious?  I've been to two games at BNS and they haven't filled it either time, whereas ECU has a larger stadium that fills up EVERY game...  Just like most, you are making assumptions about ECU having never been there... come to one game in Greenville and you will understand why we feel like our program is way closer to big time college football than the atmosphere at UCF.  Orlando market is only a plus when people actually WANT to see your team play...

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 9:21 pm

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

UCF should join the BIG EAST ASAP in my opinion. Big East needs a few more teams to have a Championship game. UCF is on the rise so why not.

Need to hurry before another big conference starts bidding for UCF.

Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 5:39 pm

ECU!? Maybe later

Who's really talking about ECU here? You should be talking about 'Nova. If you compare the draw between UCF and Villanova, the contest wouldn't be close. UCF is hands-down the better choice for entry! I can understand the argument that USF might block them for recruiting and student draw, but overall I don't see USF blocking them for that reason alone. I'd like to see this rivalry develop into the battle for I-4. Another BCS school in the state would be good for parity. I'm pretty tired of hearing about the Big 3.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2011 4:42 pm

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

I say they take UCF, Houston, and Troy if the Big 12 doesn't fall apart.  The big east is insane for not jumping on UCF the campus is huge and being in a BCS conference would provoke students to jump of the gainsville bus onto their own.  Then imagine what a few winning seasons would do to UCF. Stadium expansion, it would for the Big East in making the SEC weaker and adding a sloid team.  Houston would be a great addition to rival TCU.  And Troy has been quietly making noise in the single decade of being a FBS team.  The team has loyal fans and has won the sun belt six times in a row now.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: January 26, 2011 3:15 pm

Is USF trying to keep UCF out of the Big East?

The TV market in Orlando is better than Greenville, NC no question. However, East Carolina blows UCF away when it comes to attendance at games. The Big East could use the enthusiasm that ECU fans bring. 

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2011 2:48 pm

UCF will make it.

UCF will be a more financial hit than East Carolina. [rural east north carolina verse Disney world Orlando's 2 Million plus a 50,000 person campus and HUGE turn outs to games.  UCF and Houston will make it in my opinion.

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