My, how the semi-mighty have fallen…. Just two years ago the Big East turned down a $130 million a year offer for it's media rights, thinking that was a low ball offer. Well, things are about to go from bad to worse for those schools still around in the Big East – especially UConn – as ESPN.com is reporting that the Big East just received an offer for it's full media rights package from NBC Sports that will pay the league between $20 to $23 million a year for the life of a six year deal.
The Big East was once one of the better conferences in the country with schools like Boston College, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt, and Va Tech in the fold. Come this summer all of those schools will be members of the ACC and the Big East is a shadow of it's former self.
So, what happened to this league and who's to blame? Well, thanks to the vote taken two years ago when ESPN offered a $1.17 billion deal for nine years we can thank the presidents of the universities in the league at the time for their no vote and what's come since then.
Former commissioner John Marinatto was wholly in favor of the deal at the time, one that would've netted the football playing members of the conference nearly $14 million a year. That may seem like a pittance compared to the deals being done by the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, and SEC at the time, but it was a substantial increase over what their teams were earning to begin with.
Now, sure hindsight is always 20/20 but I'm betting the Big East wouldn't have lost the likes of Pitt, Syracuse, or now Louisville and they dominoes that could fall this offseason in terms of realignment may have never happened to begin with.
One thing is for sure, the folks at UConn have to be kicking themselves as they are left to pick up the pieces in a conference that will have less and less influence in the world of college football and will be with out nearly $10 million in money that could've poured into the coffers of the athletic department had they taken the previous deal.
If there were any doubts that the Big East is now the Big Least, this deal should just about do it for you and just about do it for killing the league as a major player in the world of college football for the foreseeable future.