The bitter divorce between the Big East and lame duck members Syracuse and Pittsburgh reached a new level on Friday, when the shifting conference unveiled the pairings for next season’s SEC / Big East Challenge.
Pitt, anticipating a home game and reserving a date on its schedule for one, was excluded from this year’s challenge. Syracuse, meanwhile, received a road matchup with Arkansas, which it reportedly doesn’t want.
Oh, the irony.
In its most recent parting shot at its two departing members, the Big East Conference omitted the one school banking on the SEC / Big East challenge for one of its non-conference home games. In its place, the Big East is sending another malcontent member—one with no intentions of traveling—on a road assignment against a school it hasn’t faced in 17 years.
Syracuse, in effect, is chafed that it’s IN the challenge whereas Pitt is POed because it’s OUT of it. The upshot is two schools incensed over their current situations.
And that’s exactly what the Big East wanted.
The Big East has assumed the role of the grudge-holding little brother, resorting to childish chicanery as payback for Syracuse and Pitt wanting to take their ball and leave. Interim Big East commissioner Joe Bailey, who took over for John Marinatto last month, is operating spitefully instead of sensibly.
The commissioner is more concerned with disciplining Syracuse and Pittsburgh than he is with advancing the league over which he presides. Instead of having the best interest of his conference in mind, Bailey is proceeding in the worst interest of his league’s two fleeting members—the vitality of his conference be damned.
It’s Schadenfreude at its finest. And for a man charged with leading perhaps the biggest conference brand in the sport, his shtick is contemptible.
Grow up, will you?