Bradshaw talks Big East meeting, remains optimistic for future

Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw shed some light on the meeting of Big East Conference presidents and athletic directors from Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, USF, SMU, Temple and Tulane that took place in Dallas on Jan. 11.

Bradshaw said the issue of schools leaving, future expansion plans and the upcoming media rights deal were the main topics of the meeting, which he said had a larger variety of subjects.

Bradshaw said he expects the media rights deal to be a hybrid negotiation combining basketball and football media rights, which he said should be announced within the next month.

In discussing the importance of aligning itself with like institutions in the Big East, Bradshaw remained optimistic about Temple’s future.

“It’s about where we were versus where we are now,” Bradshaw said.

On where Temple stands:
“There’s no question that where we were, in terms of having sports in two different conferences, and where we are now is a much better place in every respect. The level of competition that we’re playing in a league with like institutions, with similar enrollments and commitment to athletics, missions of the university, all of those things in the league we’re in now are similar. It’s definitely a step up in revenue from where we’ve been, in competition, in access to bowls, all in an upward way.”

Why 2013 football will be positive:
“We were traveling to Ypsilanti, Mich., Athens, Ohio and DeKalb, Ill., and now we’re playing in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Connecticut. Clearly in football, the schedule that we have is a much better one. The access to bowls is clearly a more favorable postseason. And our access in the BCS has improved dramatically. Before Louisville and Rutgers left, the league was the sixth best Division I conference, and it still is sixth, even with Boise out and San Diego State out.”

On schools leaving:
“Louisville is coming to the Linc instead of Boise. The attendance for Louisville will be better than the attendance for Boise. There will be more people that come to see a guy that might be favored to win the Heisman award, their quarterback, who had a spectacular game in the Orange Bowl.”

If schools leaving are a concern for Temple:
“It’s about where we were versus where we are now. We shouldn’t make it any more complicated than that. It’s not more complicated. Where were we, in the league that we were in. What was our access to the BCS? What was our access to bowls? Two years ago we won eight games and didn’t go to a bowl because the league we were in didn’t have as many bowl opportunities. All knowledgable fans would say that, this isn’t just me the athletic director of Temple saying it.

We’re clearly in a better place if you look at any standard. You can’t judge by a standard that was two years ago or five years ago, we weren’t in the Big East then. The people who have had dramatic losses are Villanova, those people. They lost a tremendous amount of schools that they were playing regularly for years in basketball. Any measure that you want to mention, where we were versus where we are now is a much better place. Clearly. In every respect.”

On Catholic 7 leaving Big East basketball:
“They should’ve left. They should have probably left a while ago. I always thought the Big East was built on a fault, a fault that was going to have an earthquake sometime. Those schools should’ve gotten out much sooner. There’s really only one school in there that we’ll miss playing, and that’s Georgetown. I’m not sure Depaul, Providence, St. John’s or Seton Hall would bring anymore people than Xavier or Dayton did in our league. That’s really not a significant loss for us. The league has much more common denominators for the institutions now.”

On whether Big East basketball profile has suffered:
“It suffers for them more. If you’re Villanova you lost in the last seven years, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Cincinnati…it would have been Temple, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia. We never played in that league. We didn’t lose anything. We were playing in a league with St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, Fordham, Rhode Island, Charlotte. That’s the league we were in. The league we’re going in is much better in basketball.”

On Jan. 11 meeting:
“It was a very encouraging meeting. Very terrific commitment of the schools to be better. We’re in the middle of media rights negotiations right now, and that’s all going very well. We’ll be signing some kind of multi-year agreement for media rights. It might be a combination of bids that people have made for the rights for basketball and football. I think it will put us in position for revenue that we haven’t been before.

The way it’ll end up, I believe it will be a hybrid kind of result. There’s going to be a challenge of when schools are coming in, and those kinds of issues have yet to be determined. There will be some revenues attached to who are actually in the conference. I would say in the next 3-4 weeks we’ll have something, it might be even sooner than that.

When ADs and presidents get together, there’s a wide range of issues that are talked about. But obviously the ones that are in front of us are media rights, potential expansion, discussions about what the league is going to look like when schools are leaving and schools are coming in.”

On Catholic 7 getting its own TV deal:
“The nature of money is in football. In most leagues 70 percent of media rights go to football and 30 percent goes to basketball, and those are leagues that have very good basketball. If you look at a league that has the kinds of schools that we have, if you look at the RPIs, there are more Atlantic 10 teams in the Top 50 than there are of the Catholic 7. If you look at Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple, they’re rated higher than most of the [Catholic 7] basketball schools. It’s going to be a very good basketball league.”

On remaining optimistic:
“We’ve been resilient. You have to look at it objectively, not emotionally or subjectively. You can take opinion and line it up against the facts. The facts say that where we are in football and basketball is a very good place, better than we’ve been. Do you anybody who would disagree with that? That’s important to know. We’re in a place with schools with facilities, with a history of major bowl participation, with attendance at football and basketball that’s at a better place than it’s ever been. We’ve never had all of our sports under one roof competing like we have now.

It’s about more than optimism. It’s about more than whistling about all of the movement that’s taking place. We’ve been resilient. We were very good in basketball in the Atlantic 10 for 30 years, a league that maybe a lot of people thought was beneath us. We were resilient to the changes that took place in those places, when Virginia Tech left, when Rutgers left. Pittsburgh was in the Atlantic 10. Villanova was in the Atlantic 10. There’s a lot of schools in the Atlantic 10 who left. Temple’s been resilient because of who we are and our commitment to non-conference games, to the kind of facilities we have, to the kind of coaches we bring in. It’s more than optimism, it’s based on our history.

Now we’re stepping up, taking all of our sports programs and stepping up. That’s just a fact, that’s not based on any kind of optimism or trying to spin something in a certain way. We’re clearly entering into an exciting era with like institutions that have similar commitments to athletics. If you look at the Atlantic 10 there’s a wide range of commitments, financially and in budgets. The Mid-American Conference was the same thing. I believe we’ll always be attractive. We’ll always be a player at the table for football and basketball.”

On the importance of aligning with like institutions:
“When we were in the Atlantic 10, our commitment to athletics was on the high end. When we were in the Mid-American Conference, our commitment was on the high end. Our market, our commitment, our facilities, our budget was at the top. Same thing in the Atlantic 10.

Now we’re going into a conference with schools whose commitments are similar to ours. We’re going to be playing in a league with those facilities commitments, commitments to coaches, playing big time non-conference schedules. We’re going to be playing in more nationally televised games than we ever have before, and that’s all positive. You can measure those things.”

-Joey Cranney