Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dan Gavitt Rues Crumbling of Conference His Dad Founded

On vacation for most of this week, but obviously by now we've all heard that the Big East appears to be about to crumble, as the seven Catholic, basketball-oriented schools seem set to break off.

Obviously, this is bad news for UConn, which remains in limbo as a BCS football school that hasn't been invited to another conference (ACC or Big Ten) yet. Cincinnati and South Florida are in the same tough spot.

We'll have more on what this all could mean for UConn as we anticipate a statement from the Big East and/or the Catholic schools sometime later today.

In the meantime, I thought I'd post this quote I got from Dan Gavitt a little over a week ago, before the Catholic school revolt was imminent. Gavitt, of course, is the son of Big East founder Dave Gavitt, who passed away last year. I wanted to know how he felt about watching the conference his father founded and helped build to, for many years, the most dominant basketball conference in the country, basically crumble and fall apart.

Gavitt was very deliberate in his answer -- perhaps choosing his words carefully, perhaps choking back his emotions.

"Definitely sadness," he said. "It's heartbreaking to see something so special for so long be changed irrevocably. That's not a comment on the new members coming int. But just ... Syracuse-Georgetown, Syracuse-UConn, Pittsburgh-West Virginia -- you can't replace those things. Just like Kansas-Missouri can't be replaced, either. Not to say there aren't a lot of good things left -- Villanova-Georgetown, UConn-St. John's -- and other new ones will develop. But conference realignment has had an unfortunate impact on college basketball across the nation."

Incidentally, Gavitt also believes that things will eventually work out for UConn. "They have too much value for someone to pass on," he said.

That was, of course, before news broke of the Catholic schools likely breaking away.

It's also worth noting that Gavitt himself is no longer with the Big East. He took a job last year as the NCAA's vice president of men's basketball championships. He had served as the Big East's associate commissioner for men's basketball for several years.






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