Navy football has existed outside the mess of conference alignment for more than a century. Now, two-plus years before it joins the Big East, Navy fans have reason to pay attention to who’s moving where.
And if they’re paying attention, they’re not liking what they’re seeing.
First, Rutgers announced it would leave the conference to join the Big Ten in 2014, a year before the Mids make the move to the Big East. Then, rumors swirled that the Atlantic Coast Conference could poach either Connecticut or Louisville from the Big East to fill a spot left by Maryland, which is also moving to the Big Ten.
Rutgers’ departure means the conference won’t have a football team with ties to the New York City television market, weakening its position in ongoing TV contract talks. If UConn or Louisville bolt, it’ll leave the Big East without an established basketball program and either a 2011 or 2010 football co-champion, depending on who bails out.
That brings us to today’s news: To replace Rutgers and any future losses to the ACC, the league reportedly will bring in Tulane and East Carolina, neither of which boast a major TV market or much of a fan base outside their respective regions. Tulane would be a full member, according to The Associated Press report linked above, while ECU would be a football-only school, like the Mids. The Green Wave and the Pirates would be the fifth and sixth schools currently playing in Conference USA that’ll move to the Big East in coming years.
Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk has already said Rutgers’ departure would be cause for “re-evaluation” of the Mids’ role in the Big East. As the conference collects former C-USA members (Has anybody called Army recently?) and faces the loss of multiple higher-profile programs if its TV rights don’t pay off as expected, the future of Navy’s new home looks dimmer than it did a few weeks ago.