Tom Jurich’s Biggest Test: That Darned Conference Thing

It is more than a little ironic that the day Dave Gavitt died, his brainchild was crippled, with an unsavory end seemingly inevitable.

The Big East was Gavitt’s baby.

Now that Pitt and Syracuse — the latter, a founding member for heavens’ sake — have slipped out in the middle of the night like Rick Scott or Art Modell for the “greener” pastures of the ACC, the Big East is writhing on the turf, awaiting life support.

Given that the ACC is reportedly eying Rutgers and UConn, and that West Virginia seems a logical pledge to join the SEC fraternity, it’s hard to conceive the Big East as a major football conference can survive.

Frankly I’m kind of stumped as to why all this is happening? I realize that the evolutionary regional tradition and rivalries of these college confederacies are yesterday’s spam email. That tradition now is the next TV contract. But, but, but . . . with ESPN alive and well and voracious as Hannibal heading to the Alps, it seems to me that there’s more than enough moolah for everybody under the current setup.

This whole jumping conference thing appears panic driven. Somebody overheard a conversation from somebody else that there might be a leak in the engine room, so now they’re fighting over life boats on the main deck. Somebody turned the lights on and the rats are scurrying for cover.

That wonder aside, this trend has developed an inexorable inertia of its own. Big Mo is on the side of let’s getouttahere as soon as we can. There’s very little of “Hey, if we just band together we can get through this and survive.”

It is in this stormy climate, that I say, “Tom Jurich, come on down.”

The U of L AD has built the athletic department as none could have conceived on his arrival. In a moment of stunning frankness, he said yesterday that U of L Athletics is “a $74 million corporation basically.”

Well, Mr. Cardinal CEO, it’s time to show your mettle, tap into your inner Steve Jobs.

For all he’s done at U of L, and, make no mistake, it’s been a monumental run, his abilities are now on trial more than ever. This is the real test. Does he have the right stuff?

One of Jurich’s best traits so far has been his facility to stay ahead of the game. Yet he appeared flummoxed after yesterday’s announcement about Pitt and Syracuse.

Where are you now, Tom Jurich? The Cardinal Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

– Seedy K

4 Comments

  1. fred
    Posted September 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    “Hey, if we just band together we can get through this and survive.” I think that’s pretty close to what the chancellor at Pitt said a few weeks ago while he was apparently shopping the school.

  2. cbcard
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Stumped as to why this is happening?

    Try money. And football calls the plays. Yes, panic could be considered a part of the playbook but NCAA football is becoming NFL light and without the complications of labor issues given the “slave labor” available for the cost of tuition and a few more bucks, not the million dollar contracts of the NFL.

  3. Seedy K
    Posted September 19, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Somebody’s going to have to explain to me how it means more money for these schools that are jumping.

    I still think it’s panic driven.

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