The relatively instability of the Big East is having an impact on football recruiting for some of its coaches, but hasn't had much of an impact in basketball.
Louisville football coach Charlie Strong told the Associated Press that the instability of the Big East could be used against it by coaches of schools in other conferences.
The thing that recruits want to know is what's going to happen with the conference, he said. Who's all leaving, who's staying? You'd like to have it (resolved) more sooner than later because we're going to get into recruiting season and I think that's how people are going to recruit against you.
Successful recruiting is often the key to a successful season, which is why some Big East football coaches seem anxious over the subject. Recruiting pits coach against coach in the ultimate salesman job -- convincing a 17 or 18-year old athlete to spurn other offers in order to attend your school.
Coaches will utilize every single advantage they have to pump up their own school, while putting down competitors. It could mean talking about a particular coach's illness -- Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno are recent examples -- or telling recruits that they don't want to play in such an unstable conference like the Big East, as some of the coaches alluded to.
But while Strong feels it is an issue, his counterpart at Louisville -- basketball coach Rick Pitino -- doesn't think it's been a factor yet.
It hasn't affected us in any way, Pitino told the IBTimes at the Big East's basketball media day last week. If Louisville isn't ironclad stability wise it could create some uncertainty.
Pitino wasn't alone in thinking it wasn't an issue yet. The majority of the Big East's head coaches didn't think it was a major issue when asked at the Big East's media day in New York City last week.
Not at all, Marquette coach Buzz Williams told the IBTimes. I haven't seen any impact.
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III reiterated Williams' thoughts, telling the IBTimes that he hadn't noticed any recruiting changes and that he didn't know if any conference (was) secure.
Still the lack of certainty with the Big East could allow for opposing coaches to put some doubt into the heads of recruits and their families. Since the Big East's media day, there have been reports claiming that West Virginia was headed to the Big 12, while now it's a toss-up between the Mountaineers and Louisville for the Big 12's 10th spot.
The Big East is expected to extend invites to Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida, Houston, Navy, and SMU for some much-needed stability, but the situation -- like all of conference realignment -- remains extremely fluid.
Part of the reason why coaches like Strong are a bit more worried about the issue than Williams or Thompson III is that there is likely more at stake for the football programs. The Big East could potentially lose its status as a BCS automatic qualifier conference, while the basketball programs will be stable no matter where they go.
For Seton Hall basketball coach Kevin Willard it means dealing with more uncertainty, but for football coaches it could mean the end to one of the Big East's biggest recruiting advantages.
Realignment Changing Recruiting Approach?
The remaining Big East football schools might take a hit in the recruiting realm, but the schools leaving the conference could see a boon in recruiting. Pittsburgh football coach Todd Graham said that the school's announced move to join the ACC has been a positive thing for the program's recruiting efforts.
I think that's very important to sit back and know that we're going to be competing at the highest level both academically and athletically, Graham told the AP. And so it has been a positive for us.
Perception is reality, whatever the national perception is. They do listen to ESPN. They do listen to what people say about the conferences and obviously there are different perceptions about each conference and I think the kids are very aware of that.
But the move from the Big East to the ACC might not be beneficial for basketball coach Jamie Dixon. Dixon typically recruits in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia, among other areas, which might not be quite as effective with the Panthers joining the North Carolina-centric ACC.
In the past Dixon could convince a New Jersey recruit like Ashton Gibbs -- the Big East's preseason Player of the Year -- to attend Pittsburgh with promises that his family could see him in Madison Square Garden, against Seton Hall, and Rutgers. Now the closest schools are Boston College, Maryland, and Syracuse, which Dixon admitted could have an impact.
The guys that we recruit always want to play in the best conference and play against the best players and teams, Dixon told the IBTimes. That's not going to change.
Dixon admitted the Big East was currently the superior basketball conference to the ACC, but that wouldn't change how it recruited.
I don't think there will be a dramatic change, Dixon said. We have to focus on what has made us successful. We can't add four to five more areas because we can't be efficient if we do that.
Dixon, along with Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, might not be the only Big East coaches that have to consider recruiting new areas. West Virginia's Bob Huggins, who has coached in multiple conferences during his 34-year coaching career, might have to prepare for a return to the Big 12.
Huggins coached in the Big 12 with Kansas State for a single season in 2006 and admitted that a move to the Big 12 could change his recruiting approach.
It would probably change how we recruit, Huggins told the IBTimes.
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