I'm not going to make this very long because the topic of conference realignment is tiring and seeing that we really know nothing about UC's fate, it's somewhat pointless. But I have to talk about it for just a minute. Please indulge me and if you think I'm wrong, that's fine as well.
First, the announcement that is coming tomorrow concerning the "New" Big East gets my blood boiling. It should NEVER have gotten to this. But thanks to greed and ESPN the old Big East is dead and gone forever. Replacing Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Louisville, and Notre Dame with Xavier, Butler, and Creighton (for now) is laughable.
Anyway, it wouldn't boil my blood so much if we knew for certain that UC was eventually going to be invited into the ACC or Big XII or any other established conference that isn't going away any time soon. But, seeing that UC is on nomad island again and no one seems to have any idea what the future holds (at least conference affiliation-wise), it's upsetting. Yes, the "New" Big East is somewhat watered down, but it has name recognition. It's not a "hey look at our stupid league name and laugh at us" marketing deal. It's a real, existing, established name across the country. And UC is no longer part of it.
It was an outstanding time for UC in the old Big East. It definitely helped the football program become more of a national name with two BCS Bowl appearances and even helped UC attract better coaches and players. Even basketball-wise, UC was able to compete at a higher level against much better conference competition. That is not even debatable. And you could also argue the caliber of player UC can attract now is much higher than that of the old CUSA days.
But it's gone. And UC has to thumb a ride to its next conference...whenever the hell that's going to be. And they must sit and watch Xavier, its crosstown hated rival, better its program again. Whether that will allow them to maintain their national name or not is for another day.
One thing that shouldn't go unnoticed is the announcement this afternoon that UC is reestablishing all scholarships for Olympic sports. Back in 2009, AD at the time Mike Thomas made the very unpopular announcement that due to budget cuts, UC was forced to end scholarships for men's cross country, men's track, and men's swimming and diving. You can read the announcement here at GoBearcats.com if you'd like.
The conspiracy theorist in me can only wonder if this isn't a an attempt (at the ACC's request) to bolster all sports within the UC athletic department to make the overall resume look that much better. We may never hear it from UC publicly, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt their chances that in a time when a lot of schools are making cuts, UC is adding and enhancing their entire athletic department.