President Turner talks Big East future with The Ticket
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 11:01
Last Friday SMU President R. Gerald Turner spoke on 1310 AM The Ticket, about the Big East and how its deterioration will affect SMU.
“We intend to stay with the Big East,” Turner said. “There are nine of us- we believe we will be together through thick and thin.”
The biggest concern for SMU, in Turner’s estimation, are the moves the Big Ten might make. The Big Ten is presently comprised of 14 schools. Turner said he recalls hearing someone say that 16 was the ideal number.
“I think 14 (schools) are hard enough (to manage),” Turner said. “We were in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) with 16 schools, and let me tell you, it lasted two years. There are so many problems in trying to coordinate all of the oversight of a conference that big.”
Turner said he hopes the SEC and Big Ten will stop making moves and stick with their present numbers. Being that the SEC isn’t making too many waves, SMU’s attention turns towards the Big Ten. Should the conference look to expand even more, it could be disastrous to the Big East. Turner said he is not worried the Big Ten is targeting any Big East schools, but is worried the conference may target some Atlantic Coast Conference programs.
“That would be a logical place for them to look,” said Turner. “[They] have told me they are happy where they are and hope to be left alone and don’t want to get more. If they were raided then they would feel like they needed to [expand].”
According to Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee, the expansion of the Big Ten is “ongoing.” He also hinted at a movement towards three or four “super conferences” made up of 16-20 teams.
On Friday evening, Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner said the Big 12 is looking to align with the ACC. Such a deal would eliminate the possibility of the Big Ten raiding the Atlantic Coast and end expansion talks. Subsequently, it would provide stability to the Big East and ease the troubled minds of many Mustang fans.
“Well I think that everyone in the Mustangs' family is wondering, if the Big Ten is going to make another move,” Turner said. “You can be upset with ESPN, or you can be upset with the Big Ten, but that does you no good. My sense of things has always been- what is the best way to get to the next place you want to be? And getting angry about it usually doesn’t help you. I think we are all wondering — we are all frustrated, but we are all committed to [making sure] SMU’s athletic programs have the best opportunities that we can. That has to be our continued game plan.”
Despite the possibility of the conference capsizing, Turner seems willing to sit in the east, for a while at least, regardless of what happens.
“It is frustrating to know that there are some conferences that can unsettle the whole ship,” he said.
“So there certainly is frustration there, but we are also doing as much as we can to make sure we are actors in it and not just reactors. Our institutional priorities are helping to drive our conclusions of which opportunities that are before us, that we would want to select. Having said all of that, I still think that being in the Big East is the best place for the options that we have.”