Big East Expansion Round-Up: Villanova, TV Contracts, and BYU?

When we posted the Round-Up last week, we really didn't expect anything of note to come out for at least a couple of weeks. So of course everything started coming out almost the second we posted it. A lot of stuff to get to, so let's start with the future Big East TV contract.

Mike Jensen from the Philadelphia Inquirer had a blurb about the TV contract and how Villanova has an ace in the hole:

Consider this: We're told that a future Big East football television package is a bit more valuable with Villanova in it than any of the other obvious current options, schools such as Central Florida or Houston. (Not sure if Villanova vs. Temple was included in the projections.)

Chris from The Nova Blog put it bluntly: if TV markets are the main driving force for expansion, then Villanova should be the one to get the invite.

Right now, Villanova appears to be part of the solution in getting the best TV deal available. The saying goes that money talks and b------t walks - we'll see how much this means to the Big East in their discussions of expansion.

Brian from VUHoops.com agrees with Chris, and goes just a bit deeper today on how much of a difference Philadelphia would be in a TV deal compared to Houston and Orlando.

One reason why the TV networks likely put so much value in the addition of Villanova over others is that massive Philadelphia TV market — around twice the size of the Orlando market, and almost a million households bigger than Houston. Networks want ratings and inventory, a tenth team adds to the inventory regardless of who it is, so the question then becomes: Which school  has the most potential to add ratings over a 10 to 12 year period?

It makes sense money wise, but just how much money are we talking? Brian went into depth about how adding a 10th member would bolster the value of the new TV deal:

Assuming all games were valued the same (they are not) at $5/game, then each school in an 8-team and 28-game conference would get $17.50. In a 9-team and 36-game conference, they would get an extra $2.50 for $20 each. In a 10-team and 45-game conference, however, they would receive $22.50 each. The extra boost from a 9-game schedule increases the revenue-per-school by $5 — imagine if we were dealing in millions, instead of pocket-change? Is that significant?

It would be huge for the football schools to have the extra money from the TV contract. This doesn't even include the hassle of scheduling five non-conference games, which forces teams to either play a payday game, or travel to Notre Dame, or having to schedule home and homes with schools like Ball State or Western Kentucky. (You know, like us.)

With the contract stuff out of the way, we turn our heads to Villanova, where the June 1st deadline for moving up is quickly approaching. Mike Kern from the Philadelphia Daily News writes that nothing new has broken regarding Nova's stadium issues, and it looks like they will have to wait until 2015 to upgrade... if at all. Kern wrote that NCAA bylaws are the main reason for the delay, but the guys at VUHoops think the delay is all on Villanova, and not the Big East or the NCAA.

VUhoops’ sources noted that Villanova’s concerns are largely logistical and practical in nature. The athletics department is eager to leave plenty of time to transition without rushing or cutting corners. While an expedited upgrade timeline is technically possible (as UMass has demonstrated), it might not be ideal for a program transitioning to the Big East.

So where does the Big East turn for the 10th member? Apparently the league reached out to BYU of all schools, if you believe what Deep Shades of Blue (a BYU blog) is saying:

In recent days a rumor has also surfaced regarding BYU potentially joining the Big East Conference.  Deep Shades of Blue has learned that the conference did indeed contact BYU about becoming a football-only member, but that the proposal was turned down by the BYU administration.

The guys at the Big East Coast Bias saw the news, and although Provo, Utah is closer to the Pacific than the Atlantic, it's showing that at least Marinatto is thinking outside the box with expansion while trying to keep the basketball schools on board with adding any new members.

It has been reported previously that the Big East is confident it could handle scheduling for 18 basketball teams. That being the case, it's at least conceivable that the Big East reached out to BYU about playing football in the conference because the Cougars would not impact basketball, and with nine current football playing members as of 2012, adding BYU, Villanova, and just one full new member would give the Big East the ideal combination of a 12/18 football/basketball split.

While there aren't a ton of schools who would accept a football-only invite (East Carolina?), it shows that at least they are trying to look at quality football members. West Virginia AD Oliver Luck said as much in an interview with Jack Bogacyzk of the Charleston Daily Mail. Luck talked about PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott's decision for expansion, and how it helped their mammoth TV contract.

"When he was asked if bringing in Utah and Colorado in expanding the conference assisted them in getting a blockbuster deal, he said, 'Absolutely.' I remember back when (expansion) happened, some people said it wouldn't matter that much. But Larry said it brought them into another time zone (Mountain), added markets, two states. He thought adding those two schools had a major effect on what they were able to do."

Translation: Expect the unexpected. Who knows what will happen, but I'm sure we will have more to talk about before the month is out.

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