Big East
The Big East Tournament gets underway on Tuesday. Big East

The Big East member schools all affirmed commitment to the conference and authorized full power to beleaguered commissioner John Marinatto to aggressively pursue new members on Sunday, but does it really matter?

The meeting, set at Georgetown's Washington, D.C. campus, concluded with all of the schools giving the commissioner power to pursue schools for admittance -- Navy and Air Force are two of the leading candidates -- with each school giving its word that it was committed.

All made the commitment that they do want us to move forward as they had earlier with the premise that they want to have a vital and strong conference to have their problems housed in, Marinatto told reporters after the meeting.

What Marinatto forgot to mention was that the schools want a vital and strong conference to house their problems that isn't named the Big East.

Each school might have committed to the idea of the Big East and for authorizing Marinatto to pursue whatever program his heart desires, but you better believe that at least two of the schools, possibly more, are keeping their eyes open for a better offer in a better conference.

Connecticut has already very publicly made its intentions known that it prefers the ACC to the Big East. TCU, which is set to join the conference in 2012, is a potential Big 12 expansion target, as are Louisville and West Virginia.

All of those schools, according to Marinatto, united to give him power for expansion, but if conference realignment has taught us anything is that those types of promises mean absolutely nothing.

First is the issue that every school is going to look at for No. 1 at all times, even if it comes at the expense of the Big East. We've seen this across the board in all conferences when it comes to realignment and expansion.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse both acted as committed members of the Big East -- Pittsburgh's chancellor was actually one of the leading supporters of the conference's stability -- but when a better offer came around both schools quickly bailed.

Texas A&M committed to the Big 12 in 2010 only to bail to the SEC a year later when it got annoyed with Texas' Longhorn Network. Oklahoma also publicly stated support for the Big 12, but practically begged to get into the Pac-12 before being rebuffed.

It's the nature of sports -- coaches, teams, and schools can all maintain one public line of thought, but will always do what's best for them.

Next there is the issue that these schools might actually have good intentions, but are interested in seeing what kind of quality schools Marinatto can attract. TCU, Louisville, and West Virginia could be waiting to see if Marinatto can attract top quality programs or if it will simply be more Conference-USA and other lesser-known schools.

If Marinatto could somehow swindle Notre Dame into joining the Big East full-time -- extremely doubtful for what it's worth -- then maybe the schools actually do stay in the conference.

But the key is for outsiders to know that these types of announcements by Marinatto mean absolutely nothing. Every school is committed and wants to pursue expansion?


But come back in a year or two and look at how things played out. The Big East could remain strong and all of its current members stay, but it won't be for wont of some schools trying to go elsewhere.

If you're a Big East fan you have every reason to be happy that no school has left within the past 48 hours, but just no that reassuring feeling could be fleeting.

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