The Big East is taking steps to “tweak” its name now that it includes schools from California, Idaho, Texas, Tennessee and Florida, according to Joe Bailey, the conference’s former interim commissioner.
The Big East has commissioned a study to consider alternative names, Bailey said today at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York. He wouldn’t say when the names would be presented to conference presidents for their consideration.
“The unintended consequences of adding new schools is that all of a sudden the Big East is a national conference,” Bailey said. “It extends to four time zones in major markets. In one sense, it almost represents the United States in that diversity.”
The Providence, Rhode Island-based conference has eight football teams this season: Temple University in Philadelphia, the University of Connecticut in Storrs, the University of South Florida in Tampa, the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, Syracuse University in New York and the University of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse leave in 2013, and the Big East will add Boise State University in Idaho and San Diego State University in California in football, and Dallas-based Southern Methodist University, the University of Memphis in Tennessee, the University of Central Florida and the University of Houston in Texas in all sports.
The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, will join the conference in football in 2015, bringing the number of football schools to 13 and the number of programs competing in all sports to 18.
“A brand is extremely important because it tells the marketplace that this is what the Big East stands for,” Bailey said. “There is so much equity in the name, Big East, what do you do with that?”
He said it was more likely the conference will “tweak a little” than come up with a wholesale change to the name.
“Stay tuned,” Bailey said. “There will be a twist to that, but it can’t look less than authentic.”
The Big East announced last month that CBS Sports Executive Mike Aresco had been picked as commissioner. Bailey will serve in an advisory capacity until Aresco gets up to the speed, according to the conference.
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