Changing The NCAA Landscape, Part 1
Posted November 23, 2011
Ah, broken contracts, accusations and lawsuits are in the air. The much-anticipated, long-predicted NCAA conference realignment is finally underway.
And all anyone in green wants to know is, how will it affect North Texas?
The first thing to know: the North Texas administration is not sitting idly waiting - or hoping - for something good to come its way. Behind the scenes, North Texas is being proactive.
Does that translate into the Mean Green actively seeking a way out of the Sun Belt? Not necessarily. But it does mean that NT recognizes that the seismic shakeup taking place offers an opportunity to improve the university's position and that the administration is doing all it can to take full advantage of the situation.
So what's realistic?
The crackup of the Big East and its associated aftershocks seems to be creating the Mean Green's best hope.
No conference has been harder hit than the Big East, beset by major defections among football powers Pitt, Syracuse, West Virginia and TCU (which departed before even arriving). In response, a possible merger of the Big East, Conference USA and the Mountain West was floated, a move would have resolved the Big East's problems and almost certainly left North Texas in the Sun Belt.
But that dramatic turn apparently was met with little enthusiasm. Instead, the Big East is trying to fill its holes by raiding those same would-be partners, C-USA and the Mountain West, and among the targets are C-USA members Houston and SMU.
This could be where NT enters the picture. North Texas, with its dramatically upgraded athletic facilities, newly-opened Apogee Stadium and its strategic location, becomes an attractive replacement for C-USA. Adding North Texas would put C-USA members back in DFW's plum television and recruiting markets.
The changes might not end there. Rumblings are heard of C-USA and the Mountain West merging to form a two-division league large enough to have a lucrative football championship game as well as creating a powerful basketball conference.
When might it happen? No timetable exists for this stuff. It's surprising how long it took TCU to the Big 12 and Missouri to the SEC to be completed, and as of this writing the Big East's invitations have yet to be accepted. Which raises the question, has the Big East been so damaged that Houston, Boise and SMU will reject the invitations?
As much as we'd all love to hear of meetings and invitations and agreements for North Texas, news of any negotiations with any conference are unlikely to be public, and are likely to be pending resolution of the Big East's invitations.
But North Texas does appear to be in play.
David Pyke is a 1982 graduate of North Texas, the creator of the website meangreenworld.com, a former journalist and now a member of the media-relations staff of the North Texas Athletic Department. He offers an inside view of happenings in and around Mean Green athletics.