Navy fans against the football team’s 2015 move to the Big East conference almost had their wish.
Joe Bailey, the conference’s former interim commissioner, told the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit late last week that the league — which will have expanded its football presence to California, Idaho, Tennessee and Texas by the time Navy joins — “has commissioned a study to consider alternative names.”
Bailey didn’t give a timetable, but with a study already underway, it seemed a safe bet that by 2015, Navy would not be joining the Big East, but some other newly minted organization with a name designed to reflect its coast-to-coast competitive balance. Like, oh, for example, “Conference USA.”
But before online comment boards could explode with branding suggestions — some helpful, most not — the Big East’s new, non-interim, commissioner spoiled all the fun: Before settling in to watch new Big East member Temple get defeated by Atlantic Coast Conference also-ran Maryland, Mike Aresco told The Associated Press that the name was staying put.
On the plus side, name-debate fans should have a chance to vent when the league splits into two divisions for football. Early suggestion: anything but “Leaders” and “Legends.”
How those divisions shake out could depend on further league expansion; Navy will be the 13th football-playing Big East member, which would result in uneven divisions and scheduling problems. Aresco seems to be leaning West as he seeks a new 14th school, fueling speculation about BYU … and Air Force. ESPN Big East blogger Andrea Adelson mentioned rumors regarding both schools in a recent blog post, saying little had changed to move Air Force out of its pro-Mountain West Conference stance.
Maybe a catchy name might sway the Falcons? If you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments below.
Adding BYU and Air Force would be great for 14 and 15. Landing the Golden Egg, Notre Dame, as 16 would be icing, especially if the league’s negotiations with NBC is able to land a large contract allowing Notre Dame to negotiate their own contract with the same network. Otherwise, unfortunately Army may be #16.
Conference name –> Big 16 Conference. Why not…
Can still keep the Big East Division and create a Big West Division….