The Big East became a little more festive by announcing that the Tulane Green Wave will be joining the conference as an all-sports member starting in the 2013-14 season. The move came as an attempt to bolster the quickly thinning ranks of the Big East with Rutgers departing for the greener pastures of the Big Ten and Louisville, Cincinnati, and UConn all vying for spots in the ACC (more on that later).
Currently, new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is in the midst of trying to negotiate a new tv deal and with the loss of the New York City market (potentially what Rutgers brings in) Aresco was trying to fill the void left by that market. Enter New Orleans… potentially.
Nevermind the fact that Tulane hasn't been very good at all in football recently (last bowl game was in 2002), or basketball (last went to the NCAA tournament in 1994-95) and their most recent postseason appearance of any of the big three sports was in baseball in 2008. The key to this move was adding a great academic university (ranked 51st nationally) with a large tv market and an equally as large recruiting base.
The commitment Tulane has made to athletics, especially football with a new 30,000+ seat stadium in 2014, is applaudable considering how deplorable the on-the-field product has been. A new stadium, a new coach this year in Curtis Johnson, and now a move to the Big East is the most exciting to have happened to Tulane football in a decade.
There still isn't any indication that this move, or any of the moves made by Tulane, will help resurrect the Battle of the Rag with LSU. What it does, though, is get Tulane into a more profitable conference than C-USA, which is the name of the game in college football these days.
Joining Tulane in the Big East is East Carolina. The Pirates have been throwing themselves at the Big East for years and were finally invited – as a football-only member. What Tulane brought to the Big East – tv market, academics, recruiting area – is what prevented ECU from being offered full membership, although that may not be off the table should the Big East suffer more defections.
More Big East expansion is still expected as the league has expressed its desire to bring in two more Western universities to pair with San Diego State and Boise State. Potential targets could be Tulsa, UTEP, and Rice since BYU has rejected the Big East (again) and Air Force is disinterested in moving from the Mountain West.
Not to be outdone, C-USA Britton Banowsky retaliated by inviting Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State to join his ranks from the Sun Belt a day after Tulane and ECU left. It's like the fantasy football waiver wire out there right now. The end of the shuffling is not near, not while valuable schools express their dissatisfaction in the conferences they currently reside in.
But, for now, Tulane has a new home. How long that house will be standing is up for anyone's guess.