We all know that nothing went down during the Spring meetings regarding Big East expansion (at least in terms of major definitive decisions being made). But now a deadline date has been set ... even though it's not necessarily all that close.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto says a decision on expansion needs to be made before the next ESPN TV deal is negotiated. The thing is that that's not anytime all that soon:
The Big East conference is set to renegotiate its first-tier television rights with ESPN — initially rumored to be in the $110-$130 million ballpark annually — during a 60-day period beginning in September, 2012. By that time, conference commissioner John Marinatto hopes to have a definitive number of attractive football members to help the league add value to the sports network.
"That’s our goal. We need to [expand] before we go into that discussion, know what it is we are. We have to have an identity. We have to obviously have our membership squared away. And we will," Marinatto told the Orlando Sentinel. Big East league meetings are currently taking place this week in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida.
Now, that, of course, means that the Big East could realistically strike a deal tomorrow. That would be in advance to the TV negotiations. But that doesn't mean a decision is just around the corner. If it were, it would have made more sense to get something done by the Spring meetings last month.
Clearly, the Big East is taking their time, and with a TV deal coming up next year, it actually makes sense to do that. The Big East shouldn't be asking ESPN which teams they'd be the most interested in, obviously. But they should make sure that whoever gets added would be a good fit for the conference over the long haul.