His first meetings with his fellow new Big East athletic directors left Creighton's Bruce Rasmussen with one overriding conclusion.
“We have so far to go,” Rasmussen said.
And, in some cases, so little time to get there.
Rasmussen and his fellow athletic directors for the new 10-team league that will begin play this fall held two days of meetings in Atlanta in conjunction with the recently completed Final Four. The Big East men's basketball coaches also sat in on part of the meetings.
The new league consists of seven schools — Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Villanova, DePaul, Seton Hall and Marquette — that broke away from the old Big East as well as Creighton, Xavier and Butler. Creighton is leaving the Missouri Valley, while Xavier and Butler are leaving the Atlantic 10.
Rasmussen said there were probably more questions raised than answered at the meetings, but at least all parties got an idea of the challenge they face in getting the conference off the ground.
“You come out of the meetings and say, 'What did we get accomplished?'” Rasmussen said. “I don't know if we got anything accomplished much beyond coming up with an outline of questions we have to have decided as we go forward.
“I think you'll see a lot of progress in the next few weeks.”
The athletic directors intend to hold weekly conference calls. In addition, each athletic director has been made a liaison for an individual sport. Rasmussen is the liaison for men's and women's tennis.
The A.D.s will also hold conference calls with coaches in their individual sports in an attempt to get input on issues that need to be addressed.
|BLUEJAYS TODAY ON FACEBOOK|
|Join the conversation on the Bluejays Today Facebook page.|
“We hope to figure out what we should do with what the coaches want to do and come up with a plan for each sport,” Rasmussen said.
Complicating matters is the fact that the league has not hired a commissioner, and Rasmussen said that process might not be completed for another month. There is no league office, no constitution or bylaws.
One of the most pressing issues is to finalize schedules for sports that will compete in the fall. Rasmussen said he would hope that could be done by the start of May, but other issues, such as where to play conference tournaments, also must be decided.
“This first year, to simplify things, we might hold championships at conference sites,” he said. “That's not to say down the road we might move away from campus sites, but we have so many questions that it might be simpler to say let's go to DePaul with women's basketball and let their administration handle that.
“It might be easier to do that than to try to have a neutral-site conference tournament when we don't even have a conference office yet. We not only don't have a commissioner, but we don't have a staff. We don't have a location for the office.”
Rasmussen said the location of the Big East office might be determined by who the league presidents decide to hire as a commissioner.
“If the guy is from New York City, it might make more sense to have it there,” he said. “If we hire someone based in Chicago, it might make sense to have it in Chicago.”
Men's basketball was the driving force behind the formation of the new league. At this point, the Big East knows it will play a double round-robin schedule and hold the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.
After that, Rasmussen said, everything else is somewhat sketchy, including details of the league's television package with Fox. Rasmussen said Fox officials met with the athletic directors and coaches, but few details were disclosed.
Despite the lack of concrete progress, Rasmussen said he came away from the meetings with a sense that he and his fellow athletic directors are on “the same page.”
“We're all private schools, so you find that there is some commonality,” he said. “There are differences — we have some schools that sponsor 14 sports while some sponsor 20. Still, I think there is a lot of unanimity in the direction that we want to see this league go.
“For now, we've generated a to-do list and come up with an idea of who's going to do it. If nothing else, we have a lot better structure and foundation to get things done than before we met.”
Contact the writer:
402-679-2298, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/PivOWH