Few things effectively bridge the political divide; none more so than struggle. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bipartisanship in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is evidence of that.
A distant second is a bond over sports. Bitter political foes can set aside their differences with a like-minded approach to a sporting event, as Gov. Christie and Pres. Bill Clinton apparently did this week. Per Pres. Clinton’s Twitter account:
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) June 15, 2013
Clinton is an alumnus of Georgetown, while Seton Hall shares its home state with Christie. The Hoyas and Pirates remain members of the “new” Big East Conference, though the league is taking on a much different appearance beginning next season.
The Big East says goodbye to New Jersey’s Rutgers, which will spend a one-year layover in the American Athletic Conference — comprised largely of current generation Big East members — before departing for the Big Ten. Meanwhile, Georgetown ends one of the most heated rivalries in college basketball with the Syracuse Orange leaving for the ACC this summer.
This new incarnation of Big East basketball is hardly an empty shell. Newcomer Creighton is a perennial NCAA tournament participant, while the Butler Bulldogs are just two years removed from back-to-back national championship game appearances.
Pres. Clinton’s Hoyas remain one of the nation’s strongest programs, and Marquette is coming off consecutive Sweet 16 and Elite 8 runs. Ties to the Big East’s glory days remain strong, too, as all three conference representatives in the 1985 Final Four (GU, Villanova and St. John’s) remain with the league.
Still, the disbanding of the old league is a sad occasion. Traditional powerhouses Syracuse, Connecticut and the reigning national champion Louisville Cardinals leave tremendous voids.
Perhaps through bipartisan leadership, Pres. Clinton and Gov. Christie can mend the rift between the departing members and remaining Big East.
Then again, conference realignment is perhaps the one thing that can make our bodies of government look downright rational in comparison.