The moment the conference realignment dominoes started to fall in the Big East, the league's seven Catholic basketball schools had the chance to take control of their future. But instead of looking forward, they held fast to the past as things crumbled.
Now, some 15 months after Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced their departures, they've finally figured out that they're unhappy with what the Big East has become.
At this point it's an act of desperation. The fluid nature of college athletics also means it's not an impossible leap of faith to create an appealing league representing the best of what college basketball has to offer.
Georgetown, DePaul, Marquette, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova still don't have a strong hand. They have to band together to get out of the Big East, in whatever form that takes, and they're small enough that they might have to join the Atlantic 10 to create the Biggest Conference Ever just to survive.
In the short term, it probably won't make up for the difference in money that they'll lose from whatever football contract the Big East would've generated.
But it's a step in the right direction, one that allows the dream of a super hoops league that culls the best of the Big East and A-10 while adding compelling others like Creighton and George Mason.
It's funny. While the Hoyas and others sat on their hands, VCU and Butler recognized what was coming and acted accordingly. Forward thinking appears to work on and off the court.
- Craig Stouffer