Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Central Florida, Houston and SMU joining new-look Big East Conference

As trades go, replacing the Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia women's basketball programs with Central Florida, Houston and South Methodist is right up there for the infamous Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell deal swung by the Boston Red Sox a couple decades ago. But desperate times results in desperate moves.

The ever changing conference landscape has nothing to do with women's basketball as football is the cash cow running the show. With the conference running the risk of losing its BCS automatic qualifying status, the Big East needed to move forward.

The Big East will be replacing three perennial NCAA women's basketball tournament teams with three conference USA teams. Central Florida is the defending Conference USA tournament champion while Houston was the conference's regular season title. This season the three teams are a combined 8-16.

Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist will join the Big East in all sports beginning in 2013 while Boise State and San Diego State will join as football-only programs.

On the conference call currently going on, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said he would comment on rumors of other universities (Temple, East Carolina come to mind) who could be added to the Big East in the future.

In a statement, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said "I am thrilled about the additions the BIG EAST has made.  I give a lot of credit to the conference office for putting this together.  I am really happy for our football schools and I love Dallas, Houston and Orlando so I look forward to making those trips.  The BIG EAST is the best women’s basketball conference in the country and it just got better."

On the call, Marinatto said that they would try to facilitate talks in setting up non-conference basketball games with Big East schools.

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