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.