Blog Entry

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

Posted on: March 3, 2011 4:05 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Over the last year or so, the Big East has been courting I-AA football power (and current Big East basketball power) Villanova to bump its program to I-A and strengthen the Big East's numbers from within. With TCU set to join the conference in 2012, a Villanova addition would push the conference up to 10 football teams. 10 is good. It's certainly better than eight.

Now, we've noted before that Big East commissioner John Marinatto wasn't going to "sit around and wait" for Villanova to make a decision on moving up a subdivision or not, but sometime between late January and now, Marinatto decided to do precisely that, because as the Sporting News reports, Villanova is coming close to accepting the Big East's offer and joining the big boys in football:

A Big East source told Sporting News that Villanova is the “clear leader” in the conference’s goal of expanding to 10 teams, but that the university still is trying to complete a revenue plan of $25-30 million in startup costs.

Villanova announced it would have a decision by April, but the process could be moving along faster than expected. reported last week that members of the athletic administration held a meeting for “major boosters” at the Syracuse basketball game.

This would probably be a solid move for Villanova; not every school that has jumped to I-A has met immediate success, but 'Nova would have the built-in luxury of money coming in from the Big East's BCS deal, the Big East's TV deal, and healthy visiting ticket sales. Again, it's still up to the Wildcats to get good at football and keep their fans interested for the long haul, but that's a definite possibility, and one that could bring a significant payoff to Villanova's athletic department.

The fundraising comes first, though, and every week that passes without Villanova having the cash for those daunting startup costs is another week that Marinatto has to "sit around and wait" and wonder whether the fanbase is really there for Villanova. The Big East is hardly a titan of fan support, as BCS conferences go, but if Villanova and its fans can't afford the move up, they can't afford it, and Marinatto will have to look elsewhere for his expansion.

Still, Villanova wouldn't be trying to raise the funds if it didn't think it had a good chance to accomplish the task, and we could see a 10-team Big East in 2012. If so, the question facing the conference changes to a no-less-important, but happier one: nine-game round robin conference schedule, right? Don't let college football down on that front, Mr. Marinatto.


Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2011 12:47 pm

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

The school that would make sense is Houston. Additional penetration into Texas and a rival for TCU. Facilities already in place and legitamacy as opposed to Villanova.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2011 9:07 am

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

I hope the BE is just waiting for Villanova to get a better idea on how to move forward... regardless of Villanova's decision. Of course, as a UCF alumni I would like the BE invite, but as a football fan it makes no sense to me if the BE stops after Villanova. TCU will still be TCU regardless if they add Villanova or not, so I don't think Villanova "cancels out" TCU... but definitely puts a ding on the football side. Hopefully the BE sees what everyone else does, and ultimately keeps going with the addition of UCF and another school. From comments I have read on various sites, it seems the only people against UCF being added are USF fans. No shocker there. It's nice to see overwhelming support from other BE fans who aren't looking at this through a USF lens.

If the BE thinks it’s not a good business decision to expand further and does not invite UCF... that’s their choice, albeit a bad one in my opinion.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2011 7:01 pm

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

Lol yes something against Nova this move is both stupid and pointless. They really can't compare themselves to Uconn because they are not a private school and Nova has a small population. The only way they would afford this move is to pray alumni give millions of dollars for them to become a losing team and raise tuition.

Believe me the day we see Nova in the BCS championship would be the day BYU gets a starbucks.

Since: Mar 4, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2011 6:33 pm

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

This is only the latest example of how arbitrary, flawed and unfair the entire BCS system is.  Teams that have been playing IA football for years, have proven themselves by winning major bowl games, have large fan bases and very solid programs (e.g., Boise State) etc. aren't allowed access the to the BCS financial club, while other universities are simply invited in - for whatever reason is offered - when they move up to IA.  The whole system needs to be trashed... or at least given some competition a la Mark Cuban...  Nothing against Villanova, but give us a break...

Since: Mar 4, 2011
Posted on: March 4, 2011 6:17 pm

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

One of the problems both Temple (now) and 'Nova (if it joins the Big East) is the stadium.  The Linc is huge, and even when Temple draws decently, it still looks half empty.  Temple and 'Nova should combine and build a college stadium that would seat about 30-40,000 tops.  With Field Turf or some other carpet, the field could support 12 home games a year.  Ideally as a fan of college football on the East coast, I would love having more games available in Philly.  

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2011 12:13 pm

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

Villanova???? What a joke!! At least add UCF or maybe even East Carolina.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:59 am

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

Like I've stated many many times.. Add UCF already! They have a top 25 basketball & football team, both D1.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:48 am

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

If they seriously add Villanova just because they are good at basketball (sometimes) the Big East commisioner needs to be fired.  This is like buying a car with flat tires and no money to replace them.  It will function at for a little while but over time it's going to run horribly.  I just seriously want this to be answered lol, who wants to watch Villanova play football? They would be better off adding Boise and becoming the Big East & West conference.

The school doesn't even have eight thousand undergraduates the fact that they are even considering this is insane. The school is a track and football school don't throw away your success to be a losing team in the big east. They should just move up to FBS and try and be a football only member in a non AQ conference. A 7,000 student private fcs school is honestly not a good luck for a eastern conference that had to go to Texas just to save face from the MWC.

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2011 11:34 am

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

You have to wonder whether Villanova has a long range plan in place for an on campus stadium.  Playing Big East football games in Chester in a little 19,000 seat soccer stadium surely isnt the plan, is it?  You could play in 100 plus year old Franklin Field on Penn's campus, but that would have to be temporary and would be odd at best.  They could play a game or so in Citizens Bank Park, but that surely cant be the long term solution.

Did Nova really have any plans to move up?  Seems it has been shown that you better have a plan.  UConn utilized State money to build its place, USF leases a NFL stadium, UAB and Tulane rented NFL (type) stadiums as well, but have realized that this hurts your program in the long term and have plans to build on campus stadiums. 

So, I have yet to hear that Nova is going to secure the $100 million or so it would take to build an on campus facility.  The $$ they are talking about is the up front needed for scholarship increases, pay raises, reality Nova was starting to fall behind in its facilities at the I-AA level, where lots of CAA and Southern Conference schools had better football facilties.
Without a reasonable long range plan, this move will lose lots of money for Nova and be put an additional dent in the Big East football brand.  I equate it to Tulane football without a stadium lease and with much less money in the bank.

Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:16 am

Report: Villanova football close to Big East deal

UMASS & UCF or Temple in the Big East after this?  2-5 years down the road.....Maybe....

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