We all know the Big East has perception issues. And with UConn and others potentially looking elsewhere, it's interesting to see just where this all ends up. The Big East is looking for potential suitors, one of which may be Navy.
The Midshipmen have had a pretty decent football program in recent years, so I can see the interest. Only thing is, they apparently might not immediately accept a conference invite according to AD Chet Gladchuk.
I had a great conversation with Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk earlier this afternoon, and he confirmed there is strong interest in joining the Big East.
But -- and this is a big one -- he wanted the league to get its house in order before coming to any decision.
Gladchuk confirmed that the academy and the Big East were in serious discussions about football-only membership before Pitt and Syracuse left for the ACC. But no invitation was extended. I asked what he would do if the Big East extended an invite today. He said:
"I think right now I'd be more comfortable making certain they're comfortable with themselves, and they've got a little bit of work to do."
Gladchuk said it was disconcerting to read about UConn, Rutgers and West Virginia not making full pledges to remain in the Big East. That is one of his biggest concerns moving forward.
So why don't I think this is posturing? Well, because what would be the point? Why would they even bring up the fact that the Big East needs to get its house in order? If anything, that might only make the Big East hesitant about extending an offer for fear of rejection. A public invitation would never happen, of course, but with all that's been leaked about expansion, do you really think that fact would never be known if Navy said 'Thanks, but no thanks'? Imagine how that would look for commissioner John Marinatto who's already being heavily criticized.
And by the way, that criticism isn't just from fans:
"I firmly believe we would manage this a lot better with a different leader," said one Big East head coach, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's a good man, a good right-hand man. But I think he's in over his head."
"There's just no way it would have gotten to this point if Dave or Mike were still in charge," another Big East head man said.
Back to the Navy thing, though. The service academies are obviously in a different situation. Athletics may be important, but not nearly as important as they are to everyone else - particularly schools in AQ conferences. So, really, they can continue as an independent without much hesitation. But the fact that they'd have to think long and hard about conference membership is intriguing to me.