If television producers wanted to cast the Big East Conference as a 1980s sitcom, the plot would revolve around a series of hastily arranged marriages constructed to avoid deportation. As the conference braced to grow to 18 teams in basketball and 13 in football and stretch from Boise to Providence to Tampa, its many athletic directors, coaches and officials met here this week. Call them college athletics’ “Imperfect Strangers.”
Joe Bailey, the conference’s interim commissioner, summed up the uncertainty — “change is sort of the new normal” — as jokes about the necessity for name tags filled the conference rooms. As awkward as this marriage of mutual desperation may appear, it can still be fiscally productive. For now.
Big East officials are again holding new colleagues’ hands and singing ...