LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Speculation is at an all time high when it comes to the University of Louisville and the Big East Conference. Wednesday ESPN reported the Big 12 may be one option for the Cards if the Big East crumbles.
First Pittsburgh and Syracuse say goodbye. Now UConn is non-committal. As the Big East is seemingly falling apart, UofL is trying to figure out what to do next. President James Ramsey and Athletic Director Tom Jurich went to New York Tuesday night to talk it over with other university leaders.
"We're committed to the Big East," said Ramsey hours later. "It has a great conference and has a great history."
Sure it has a great history, but what's in the Big East's future?
Reports on ESPN Wednesday put Louisville on the list for a Big 12 invitation, but the Cards are not at the top of that list. We asked ESPN contributor Pat Forde if UofL needs to be worried?
" Yeah," said Forde, "they definitely need to be worried."
Forde says a lot is at stake. Jurich has worked hard to increase the university's athletic profile over the last several years with new sports fields and complexes. UofL is ranked nationally not only in men's and women's basketball, but in many other sports - from soccer to baseball. But because all the money and attention is on football, UofL needs to choose wisely.
"Tom Jurich cares about football and has and has worked really hard to build up Louisville's football profile, so as good as Louisville is basketball-wise traditionally they still need to be a viable football entity as well," said Forde.
For now, Ramsey is talking Big East expansion.
"We're not desperate," Ramsey said of getting new members. "We'll extend offers to outstanding schools."
East Carolina, Air Force and Navy are among options to fill the void.
Barring a renegotiated buyout, the Big East is holding Pittsburgh and Syracuse to their 27 month, $5 million exit fee.