According to the Des Moines Register, former Providence College men's basketball coach keno Davis has signed a one-year contract to be a color commentator and studio analyst on the Big Ten Network.
Davis has been fairly quiet since Providence fired him at the end of his third season. He has moved to Chicago, and told the Register that he is still open to coaching in the future.
"I'm committed to this for this year," he told the newspaper. "We'll see what options I have at the end of the season. Quite a few coaches have gone into broadcasting. They have enjoyed it so much they stayed in it. Others have gotten back into coaching. I don't know what's in store for my future. But I am looking forward to this year."
That, in essence, is what is now on the table for the Big East in its drive to save a football conference that could grow to 12 schools. The conference hopes to pull together a plan that would add UCF, Houston and SMU for all sports and Boise State, Air Force and the Naval Academy for football-only.
While a good plan for football members sent reeling by recent departures of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Texas Christian, the expansion would create some far-flung relationships for basketball schools that have been dragged to the altar on the issue. More than one athletic director at a Big East basketball school expressed concern that the football schools could execute the proposed plan.
If it all comes together, the Big East would have 17 members playing basketball and expand the conference into three of the largest cities in the country in Dallas, Houston and Orlando.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto has refused comment on any of the conference's expansion plans but he's clearly decided to reshape his league in a fashion similar to the one he employed back in 2005. At that time, Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech left for the ACC and the Big East added Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette and South Florida.
There has been some, but very little, discussions of growing the league to 20 members by adding schools that do not play football. The basketball faction has instead chosen to remain aligned with what it hopes will still be a BCS-level football conference. If, however, there are additional defections from the Big East that include either Connecticut or Louisville, the basketball schools are expected to pull away from their football partners.
The timing of the proposed moves is unclear. Big East associate commissioner John Paquette said Saturday that "no invitations have been issued." There has also been no official vote on raising the conference's exit fee from $5 million to $10 million but that is expected to occur on Monday. Once that hurdle is cleared, invitations will be offered to the new schools.
According to the Associated Press, the conference intends on doubling its exit fee from $5 to $10 million. A vote on that move could come as early as this weekend, although its passage is not a foregone conclusion.
If that hurdle is cleared, then the Big East will invite Air Force, Boise State and Navy as football-only members and Central Florida as a full member, according to the report. No timetable on the invites is solid but commissioner John Marinatto clearly would like some news to report by this Wednesday when the conference holds its basketball media day in New York City.
Central Florida and Big East officials have spoken numerous times this week. Time may be of the essense, especially since ESPN reported Friday that Conference USA and the Mountain West are talking about a merger for football-only.
The additions would push the number of football teams in the Big East to 10. The league had said earlier in the week that it could see a plan with 12 football schools but there is major resistance to expanding that large from the basketball-only schools like Providence College. Under the current plan, PC and partners like Georgetown and Marquette would be voting on adding only one school (Central Florida) to the part of the conference that it is focused on.
Central Florida, which is based in Orlando and has more than 50,000 students, currently plays in Conference USA. The athletic department enjoys excellent facilities and its football team finished 11-3 last season with a Liberty Bowl win over Georgia and began this season by thumping Boston College, 30-3. UCF's basketball program has enjoyed solid success in Conference USA and is coached by Donnie Jones, a well-thought of protégé of Billy Donovan.
"No one knows a timetable," UCF athletic director Keith Tribble told the Orlando Sentinel Friday. "There are too many moving parts in this whole scenario. There are more moving parts than I've ever seen."
A plan to expand to 12 football schools and include Temple and perhaps Houston or East Carolina ran into a stop sign in recent days. Villanova put the breaks on Temple's admission, insisting that the Owls come on for football-only. Other basketball schools have told Marinatto that they don't want to vote in any full members and then see "anchor" all-sports schools Connecticut, Louisville or West Virginia leave for another conference.
But there is a strong desire to remain associated with a BCS-level football conference. Big East leaders feel that the four additions, especially growing national power Boise State, will help assure the spot in the BCS.
In remarks over the last few days, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has sounded a death knell for the Big East and strongly insinuated that his school would go to the Big 12 if asked. That league is waiting to see if Missouri intends on exploring a move to the SEC, which has not offered any invitation to the Tigers. If Mizzou does leave, Louisville is perceived to be the leading contender to take its place.
Make that the Big East football conference. Down three schools with more potentially on the way, the Big East is hoping to reconfigure and finally show it can win enough games to be taken seriously in the sport. Good luck. The current lot of serious expansion candidates feature Central Florida, Temple, Air Force and Navy. That's not going to make many TV networks or bowl games take notice.
If Missouri receives an invitation from the SEC, the Big 12 will certainly come to the Big East for new members. The Big 12 may still grab two schools (Louisville & West Virginia) if Mizzou chooses to stay.
Whoever is around should explore this potential solution: have the football schools walk away from the Big East's name (which only Connecticut can make a legit claim to), its basketball partners and a pile of money and try to solve its problems in a new home. Call it the Great American Conference and merge whoever is still standing in the Big East with the Conference USA teams who want in. That league, by the way, is probably better positioned for long-term pigskin success than the Big East right now with Houston, Tulane, Southern Miss, Memphis, East Carolina and others.
No need for the basketball schools. They can fulfill their destiny, go it alone and count the football school's exit fees and NCAA basketball units for a few years. That's pretty much what we suggested back on October 2.
Don't expect any of this to happen, of course. It makes too much sense.
Sophomore guard Bryce Cotton will be out to defend his dunk title and this time his slams will be judged by a celebrity lineup that includes Providence Mayor Angel Tavares. Also appearing will be all-time scoring leader Ryan Gomes of the Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey Nets rookie Marshon Brooks and former NBA stars Marvin Barnes, Ernie DiGregorio, Kevin Stacom, and Joe Hassett.
Doors open to Mullaney Gym open at 9:30. Go check out PC-Boston University hockey at 7p.m. and make it a full night. Cox Sports will televise Late Night Madness beginning at 10 p.m.
Xavier is picked to place first in the A-10 preseason poll of media and coaches. Temple is chosen second in the poll. The Owls have won three of the last four Atlantic 10 championships.
Saint Louis was picked third, followed by St. Bonaventure, Richmond and Dayton. Saint Joseph's was picked seventh with George Washington, Duquesne and Rhode Island tenth.
Charlotte, Massachusetts, La Salle and Fordham round out the 14-team field.
The preseason first-team is all seniors: Xavier's Tu Holloway, last season's player of the year, St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, Temple's Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez, and George Washington's Tony Taylor.
According to the statement, commissioner John Marinatto has been authorized "to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football-playing schools.
Here is one plausible - yet wacky - scenario. The six remaining football schools: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia - lack enough sizzle to merit big-time national TV contracts or a BCS bid. They need to grow and apparently will look far and wide for help.
Air Force and Navy have been discussed for more than two months and it is now time for those academies to make a decision. It's also being discussed to add Boise State as a third football-only member, pushing the total to nine. Why Boise? Because it would instantly be the best football program in the conference and bring with it the successful finishes of the last few years that will help the Big East in the eyes of the BCS.
The news of Boisetthe-Big East first came to light in a story by the Newark Star-Ledger.
To bring the football side to 12, the Big East would clearly push Villanova to elevate its program to FBS level. Then it would attempt to get the votes for two all-sports members, increasing the basketball conference to 16 schools.
The candidates for all-sports are as follows: Temple, especially if Villanova can't get moving in football; Central Florida, seen as a sleeping giant in Orlando with top-notch facilities; and East Carolina.
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