STORRS, Conn. — Fresh off a national championship victory, their fifth in 25 years, the UConn Huskies are once again swept up in conference realignment rumors, this time with the Big 12 reportedly interested.
UConn was a founding member of the Big East in 1979, but left for the American Athletic Conference in 2013. The Big East managed to survive and ultimately brought the Huskies back in 2020, making it hard to fathom another move out of the conference coming so soon.
But, as Locked on College Basketball host Andy Patton and guest Matt St. Jean discuss, money talks and there is a lot of it in the Big 12.
"There's a lot more money in football than there is in basketball," St. Jean said. "The Big 12's next media deal makes about ten times as much per school as the current Big East one...it's a sizable difference there and tough to turn that down."
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UConn is in a different situation than the other basketball powerhouse reportedly being pursued by the Big 12, Gonzaga, because the Huskies boast a football team.
Gonzaga is not going to get an even cut of the revenue from the Big 12 without a football program, but UConn could be looking at an increase in revenue that would be nearly impossible to turn down - even if it meant once again leaving the conference they helped put on the map.
However, while this would be a really big blow the 'new' Big East, this conference has proven they can succeed without UConn and if they need to do it again they can. No UConn would drop the conference back down to 10 members, and the conference could either stand pat with the brands they have remaining - including Georgetown, Marquette, Xavier, and Creighton - or they could look to pursue more additions, even going as far west as Gonzaga and Saint Mary's or trying to pull Dayton and/or Saint Louis out of the A-10.
The Huskies are a highly sought after product for obvious reasons, but even if they do take the greener pastures of the Big 12 it won't be the end of the Big East, just another new beginning.