Its fitting really, when you think about it. For most of the past five years, which have been racked by never ending speculation about conference realignment the Cincinnati Bearcats administration have been betting, praying really, for stability. Stability within the sport at large, stability within the Big East, stability in general. Those prayers went unanswered for years.
A change in athletic director and university president has wrought a different approach. Whereas Mike Thomas and Greg Williams were firm in their commitment to the Big East. Williams in particular was resolute in his support of keeping the Big East afloat. Santa Ono and Whit Babcock have taken a different approach, aggressively pursuing the ACC, going as far as sending Christmas Cards to presidents of ACC schools.
There has been a lot of confidence around the Lindner Center that the Bearcats will wind up with a place at the table of the new system. That Cincinnati would find their was into one of the big 5 conferences, either with the Big 12, or more likely the ACC. It is now official that confidence has been misplaced.
The Atlantic Coast Conference presidents approved Monday a grant of media rights for the league through 2026-27, effectively halting the exodus of any schools to other conferences.
UC needed at least one ACC school to bolt for greener pastures to open up a spot for them, and that is not going to happen. That leaves the Big 12 which is in no hurry to add members and is content to stay at 10, despite West Virginia raising a ruckus about their travel bills, a ruckus that will lead to nothing, because they have no way out.
It seems fitting really, that Cincinnati would bet for stability at a time of chaos, and chaos at the exact moment when all the major pieces on the board grind to a halt. Welcome to the future, which looks exactly like the past.