BC and the Big East: It’s not you, it’s us…well, no, it’s also you


Lately, the talk of the Big East extending an open invitation to Boston College to rejoin their ranks has been coming up again, and from the usual sources as well. It’s not like we haven’t been here before in the past six years. In fact, it would be a strange year if it DIDN’T come up at least once before football season begins. I haven’t commented on this issue too much on Soaring to Glory, but I will comment on it now because I’ve frankly had enough.

Here’s the bottom line: We are not going back to the Big East. I repeat, we are not going back to the Big East. Once more, with feeling: WE ARE NOT GOING BACK TO THE MOTHER(expletive) BIG EAST. For those of you breathlessly engaged in mental gymnastics regarding when the Eagles will go and who will take our place, do yourself a favor and stop before your lunacy goes terminal. Despite the fact that the commissioner of the Big East apparently has designs on luring us back, it’s not going to happen for at least as long as Gene DeFilippo is the athletic director, and probably beyond that. We left, we got sued, and now we’ve been out for six years and are forming new rivalries. Six years. Seis. Why are we even still having this conversation?

There are a few reasons I can think of: some Big East fans still feel jilted and/or they feel we’re a key piece to their hopes of expansion, and there is still a cluster of the old BC whale pants wearers who think we still belong there and can’t comprehend what this dadgum ACC is. Both groups, I hope, are on the wane. Full disclosure: when I got to Boston College, we were in the Big East. When I left, we were in the ACC. The Big East rivalries never meant anything to me, they mean absolutely zip to every single freshman who has set foot on the Heights since September 2005 because they no longer exist, and evidently the vast majority of Big East football rivalries didn’t seem very important to BC in the first place, seeing as how we left. I bet half of the current students don’t even know we were in that conference in the first place.

My broader point is that it’s been a long time, and the Eagles and the Big East have clearly gone their own ways since 2005; there is nothing binding them together any longer. Boston College did what it felt was the best for its program, and that’s it. To lay guilt on BC for “leaving the conference it founded” sounds good on paper, but keep in mind that Gene DeFilippo didn’t shake hands on this back in the ’70s because he wasn’t our AD. Father Leahy didn’t, either, because he also wasn’t around to do it. The people who made the decision to jump into the Big East when it formed in 1979 were long gone in the 2000s when the ACC move was made. I doubt the decision was taken lightly in any event, and our current athletic director was not required to make BC remain in that conference because of sentimental obligation.

Further, if the Big East wants to expand, then more power to them. You do not need us around to do that if you feel it will legitimize your conference. Still, we’re floated as a “logical” choice because apparently being geographically close to a portion of the conference is what matters most, and I guess we supposedly “belong” there. It should also occur to you that the AD who led us into this conference six years ago is not likely to even entertain the offer, as it would make him look pretty bad and a lot of the bad blood still exists.

A year or so ago, a very angry Big East fan (UConn, if I’m not mistaken) was berating the Eagles in my presence. He told me why, and said a lot of the things you’d expect, which included:
You have a terrible program
You have terrible fans
Your sports teams bring nothing to the table
Your program is riddled with scandal
• and Your academics aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

This spittle-launching screed was then followed up by:
You should never have left
You belong with us in the Big East so come back

Well now, if we’re such a blight on the face of collegiate athletics and were a stain on your conference, why did the ACC invite us, why did you wish us never to leave, and why is your commissioner singing outside our balcony, trying to get us back? I guess that’s just one of them crazy brain-teasers. It could be that you need us (as a means to your desired end of growing your conference), or you want us (despite obviously being the most deficient college program in the history of mankind). It’s alright to be mad after a breakup, but either way, you haven’t convinced me.

I’ve watched Boston College sports long enough to know that our teams don’t always win. Some are downright frustrating, in fact. Our fans sometimes frustrate as well, especially when I scan the crowd at Conte Forum and see lots of empty gold seats under the basket. I am, however, very proud of my school and always will be. Oh, and our academics ARE all they’re cracked up to be, and so are those of a number of ACC members. Wanna see? Take a look at Brian’s post at BCI the other day. That is a part as to why we are where we are. We don’t have to apologize for it. If there are other reasons why we’re in the ACC, including football, exposure, and money, then we don’t have to apologize for those, either. BC is where it wants to be, BC feels it belongs here (thanks largely to the aforementioned academics, football, et al.), and there is probably nothing of real importance the Big East can give Boston College that it doesn’t already have now and likely better.

We don’t need to be told where we belong, we don’t need to be told what makes most geographic or demographic sense for us, we don’t need to be told what teams we have to play for nostalgia’s sake, and honestly, we don’t need to get back with the conference we dumped for reasons which made sense to us then and make sense to us now. Boston College is fine where it is (notwithstanding a handful of ACC fans who don’t care for us even being around), and it’s about time some of you accepted it. The relationship is still over.