10 April 2011
It started out as such a promising day for the Villanova faithful who wanted to see Villanova become the 10th and, for now, final football member of the Big East conference. A final vote was scheduled on Tuesday, but it appeared as if the decision had been made:
Villanova has decided to make the move to the Big East and the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Villanova officials could not be reached for comment Sunday night, but a source within the Big East Conference said Villanova has decided to make the move.
With what amounted to a standing offer to upgrade their very good FCS team, it appeared that the ball was firmly in Villanova's court. Even with an invitation to immediately become a BCS member, there are still substantial issues to resolve. Funding is always one without state support. The other, and the apparent hold-up (if not deal-breaker), is the stadium:
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Jensen is reporting that there will be no vote on Villanova football’s proposed move to the Big East conference this week after the football members of the Big East objected to the plan to play at PPL Park.
It was known to the Big East that PPL Park was Villanova’s target venue for much of the process. In fact, the objection of some schools, with Pittsburgh being the most vocal, was known to Villanova since at least late February.
I think it's a safe assumption to wager that the anti-Villanova faction, apparently led by Pitt, was able to push one or two members on the fence into their camp. Maybe it was a "Holy crap, they're actually going to do it," -type thing, but for whatever reason, it seems that Villanova thought they had the votes and now they don't. The PPL Park plan has been known for quite some time, so I can't imagine that it would have gotten to this point without some sort of change of circumstances.
Of course, I could go to "complete cynic" mode and suggest that Nova was unable or unwilling to make the necessary adjustments to make the move. That to save face, the Big East conference would reject the PPL Park plan. Then the Villanova administration, who maybe never supported this move in the first place, to say "well, we tried."
Villanova's president, Father Peter Donohue, sent out an email Sunday night explaining the delay.
If the Villanova invite is indeed dead, then the focus likely turns to Central Florida, with ECU, Houston probably behind it.
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