Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese had pointed criticism for what he believes is behind conference realignment Sunday during an interview on SiriusXM satellite radio.
Tranghese said that he expects more school movement because “it’s almost like people can’t help themselves.” He added that if there is blame to go around, it should be directed to school presidents.
“I think point fingers at coaches, I think pointing fingers at television, point fingers at commissioners, it’s a joke,” Tranghese said during the interview. “The presidents are in charge.”
Tranghese, 67, remains one of the most respected figures in college athletics. He joined the Big East at its creation in 1979 before retiring as commissioner in 2009. Last year he told The Sporting News, “I would have worked another four or five years. I knew all this stuff was coming. I knew it wasn’t ending. I knew the football structure of the Big East was fragile. It’s a hard way to operate. The problem with Big East football is they didn’t win enough games.”
Here are Tranghese’s most interesting comments on SiriusXM.
SiriusXM: It looks to me as if maybe that (conference expansion) now has slowed down a bit. From your perspective how do you see where we are at right now?"
Tranghese: "I think it is temporary … I think there is going to be more movement. I just think that it's almost like people can't help themselves. Without mentioning specific conferences I just think there's going to be more movement. I think the conferences that have moved recently are probably going to move again.
“I mean, if you're willing to go from 12 to 14 [teams] then you're going to be willing to go from 14 to 16. And I think there's going to be more money when you do that. But I think there's a real negative side. We're heading for supposedly these five super conferences with 16 teams. At the end of the day … I think all it does is create more losers. It doesn't create more winners. It creates more losers.
“You're not playing true double-round robin in basketball anymore. You can't even play everybody in football anymore. I think the rivalries get diminished. It's hard for me to be objective because I'm a Big East person and we've been hit and we've been ripped apart and I know the effect it has had on a lot of people, a lot of good people. Now, some other people have probably benefitted from it but if that's what college athletics is all about then I'm missing the message because, you know, we're in the business of educating. Even the way some people leave has been somewhat distasteful to me. We're supposed to be setting examples and educating kids. I think the only message we're sending 'em is: ‘If you can make more money, do what you have to do.’ “
SiriusXM: "I get the feeling as if, maybe appropriately, you're saying it is easy to point the finger of accountability towards TV..."
Tranghese: "Oh, I don't blame TV at all...I point them at presidents … In 1990, they took over college athletics and said they were in charge. They're in charge, therefore they are responsible. They're the ones …
“I think pointing fingers at coaches, I think pointing fingers at television, pointing fingers at commissioners, it's a joke. The presidents are in charge. When an institution picks up and leaves to go to another conference and leaves the other members that it's been in partnership with for a long time, there is no athletic director who is making that decision on his own. It is ultimately being made by a board who is being directed and driven according to what the president wants.
“Therefore, if people like what's going on they ought to applaud the presidents. If they don't like it they ought to criticize the presidents. But the presidents seem to not be in the firing line at all. I find that almost comical. Because they yelled and screamed that college athletics was in trouble at the end of the 80's and they said we're taking over. That's when the whole governing structure of the NCAA was reconfigured and the presidents now form the board, they have the ultimate control, they have the ultimate control over conferences, obviously the ultimate control over institutions. If we're going to point a finger, they are the ones to point the fingers at."