The University of Connecticut's college football future and perhaps athletic future will hit a crossroads on Monday in Dallas when the Big 12 Presidents meet and decide 1. Whether to expand 2. Whether to invite UConn.
If the answer to either or both questions is NO, UConn officials have a decision to make. The problem is that any choice UConn makes looks ominous.
Here are UConn's options.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
- Stay as a full member in the American Athletic Conference. That is the safest move, but the consequences could be severe. Because of money the American received from buyouts from the Catholic 7 schools (paid when they broke from the Big East football/basketball conference), UConn's television led revenues are close to $10 million this year. But that Big East money is now gone. Projections over the next few years have the payouts shrinking to $3 million a year, a number which UConn, with its 71 million dollar a year budget, can not tolerate.
- Ask the American to allow UConn to move to the Big East in all sports but football. This is not likely to happen since there is almost no value in UConn for the American without football.
- Leave the American, join the Big East in all sports but football and become part of the Mid-American Conference in football. It could work, but here's the snag. Leaving the AAC, which has an exit fee charge of $10 million dollars AND requires 27 months of notice, will not be cheap. No one expects a 27 month "lame duck'' situation, so UConn will be able to leave almost immediately, but then it will cost more than $10 million. If UConn were joining a Power 5 conference such as the Big 12, which had a payout of $30 million for each school, it could afford the buyout. Even joining as a football only member, would bring in enough money to offset the buyout. But neither the MAC nor the Big East combined could generate a $10 million plus cost.
If UConn is shut out from the Big 12, its safest financial move for the time being will be to do nothing and see what the college landscape is in the next couple of years. But unless the Big 12 extends an invitation, UConn is on the horns of a dilemma.[/membership]