LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Big East announced this morning that Syracuse officially will leave the conference after the coming season, a year early, after settling with the league on a $7.5 million exit fee.
Syracuse will be off to the ACC after that, and the Big East is set to welcome seven more new members.
While Pittsburgh still is tied up in a lawsuit with the Big East, most sources say that will be worked out soon and the Panthers will move along to the ACC next season, too. Which begs the question, why did they have to sue? Pitt's handling of all of this has been suspect from the start.
Which brings me to a point. There aren't a lot of tears being shed for Pitt as it moves on, at least not from folks around the Big East that I've encountered.
But for Syracuse, I think the feeling remains sadness and shock.
Most people I talk to simply can't wrap their heads around a Big East without Syracuse. In Louisville, the basketball rivalry with Syracuse became special from the minute it started. Some of its renewals are among the most memorable games, at least for Louisville fans, of the past decade.
When U of L went into the Big East, Syracuse was seen as a benchmark program, one whose identity and the Big East's were linked, even after the departure of such cornerstone programs as Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. As long as Syracuse was still there, the Big East was still the Big East.
Without Syracuse, it's something different.
It's funny how that works. When other schools have left, there has been anger among the schools that remained. With Syracuse, all I've sensed is sadness.
Beyond that, the comment from interim Big East Commissioner Joe Bailey has raised a few eyebrows, for want of a better term, among those responding to my @ericcrawford Twitter account.
Said Bailey: "This closes a chapter and opens a new one filled with exciting possibilities for the Big East's future. With the recent addition of eight schools to the Big East, the future for the Conference has never been brighter."
I don't know. It's tough to see a silver lining around the cloud of Syracuse's departure. And there surely isn't an orange one.
DAVIS INKS WITH NIKE: According to sports business reporter Darren Rovell, Anthony Davis has signed with Nike (as have 7 of the past 10 No. 1 overall NBA Draft picks). No terms have been disclosed.
Davis will be back on the court tonight when Team USA faces Brazil at 8 p.m. In Washington D.C. The game will be televised by ESPN2.
One person who expects Davis to make the most of his NBA experience is former UK (and current New Orleans Hornets) teammate Darius Miller, who told The New Orleans Times-Picayune:
"Playing on the Olympic team is like a big jump start for him before the season begins. He's playing with the best in the league and best in the world. I know he's going to take advantage of it because the type of player he is. I have a feeling he's going to come back ready to go.''
HOBBS GETTING IT DONE DOWN UNDER: After an item about Bellarmine in this past weekend's College Basketball Notebook, I had a reader ask for an update on former Bellarmine standout Braydon Hobbs, who is playing in the Queensland Basketball League in Australia.
I tried to get season stats for his team, the Mackay Meteors, but was unable to find anything.
I did, however, get the box score from its last game, and from that, Hobbs appears to be the same player he was at Bellarmine. His stat line: 13 points, 7 assists, 4 steals, 2 rebounds.
Also, over at the right is a photo from the Mackay Daily Mercury newspaper earlier this month, with Hobbs on the right hand side.
We'll try to get in touch with Hobbs for a more in-depth update soon.
TV TIME FOR SEC FOOTBALL: ESPN announced its first three weeks of SEC football games, along with game times today. The family of networks will televise 33 SEC games in the season's first three weeks, including two involving UK -- its opener at Louisville (on ESPNU at 3:30 on Sunday, Sept. 2) and at home against Western Kentucky (ESPNU, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15).
WKU, which was picked to finish fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in a poll of league coaches released today, will also be on the SEC Network and ESPN3 in its game at Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 3:30). Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
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