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View Full Version : Would Gonzaga Consider a National Catholic Conference?



Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 08:13 AM
The Big East is going through some changes. The BB only schools, all catholic, have a very solid base. Solid enough for ND to snub the Big 10 once again. Thought is they will add Xavier to their existing 8 members for a 9 team conference.

But what if the conference powers decide that more exposure, more markets, more teams would be best for the conference?

Gonzaga is obviously the among best catholic basketball programs in the nation. However, you guys are all the way out in the pacific northwest. Logistics would be a nightmare if you came alone. Would Gonzaga joining those 9 teams be a possibility?

What if a few other west coast teams were also included?

A thought on the conference:
1. Georgetown
2. Villanova
3. St. John's
4. Providence
5. Seton Hall
6. Notre Dame
7. Xavier
8. DePaul
9. Marquette
10. Gonzaga
11. San Francisco
12. Portland (or other?)

Could have the two divisions for Olympic sports to reduce travel expenses, but play as one team conference for basketball the way the Big East does now. Other teams, such as Creighton & St. Louis could be added to go to 14 teams, or include Dayton and another for a 16 team conference.

Would include some major television markets (new england, new york city, new jersey, philly, dc, chicago, milwaukee, st. louis?, san fran, cincy), some teams with big national exposure (georgetown, gonzaga, villanova, xavier, st. john's, marquette) and a lot of traditionally powerful teams.

Do you ever hear rumblings of this nature in the conference realignment discussions?

willandi
05-10-2010, 08:29 AM
It is an interesting concept. To be viable there would need to be another West Coast travel partner to go with the Zags. Maybe Portland would become a Catholic school?:) :)

It also would be the death knell for the WCC if the best 3 or 4 schools left. Is that desirable, or even tha Zags issue to worry about?

007Zag
05-10-2010, 08:37 AM
Portland is a Catholic school; brothers of the Holy Cross.

I wouldn't want to see it happen, for more theological reasons than logistical. Explicitly having a "Catholic" league just doesn't jive with me for some reason. The WCC practically already is, with the only exception being Pepperdine, but I think that developed because of logistics, not out of a faith-based league imperative.

tinfoilzag
05-10-2010, 08:38 AM
God would never allow it.

The conference tournament would be too hard on Him.

LongIslandZagFan
05-10-2010, 08:41 AM
God would never allow it.

The conference tournament would be too hard on Him.

:lmao:

Thanks for the morning chuckle tinfoilzag.

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 08:46 AM
To be viable there would need to be another West Coast travel partner to go with the Zags.

That's why St. Mary's and San Francisco are listed. 2 travel partners for the Zags. (I edited the original post)

I don't know enough about the WCC schools to know which would be the best additions to go with Gonzaga. I only chose St. Mary's because they have a somewhat recognizable name and San Francisco because of their market in a major city. What would be the preferred schools? Portland and San Francisco? Two major northwest cities would be nice.

Regarding the "catholic" connection. I don't care about the catholic nature of the conference, but that's how I see it getting done if something were to happen. Of course I would love to add Butler to the mix, but all the school presidents who would make the decision are men of the cloth, and I would expect the catholic schools to stick together. I think this also has a big part with Notre Dame's decision to stay affiliated with St. John's, Georgetown and Villanova (major east coast catholic connection).

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 08:51 AM
I wouldn't want to see it happen, for more theological reasons than logistical. Explicitly having a "Catholic" league just doesn't jive with me for some reason.

You are already in a catholic conference. 7 of your 8 schools are catholic.

As I said, I don't care at all about the religious aspect of the conference. But that's how I see a conference like this developing. I would definitely hope that they keep any religious connotaion our of the league's name. No need to take a stand mixing religion with athletics. More about affiliating some institutions with similar missions who also take pride in athletics.

FlyZag
05-10-2010, 09:02 AM
Logistical nightmare. I think it's a really bad idea. I give you credit for thinking outside the box... but travel expenses, logistics and student studies are all too great a cost. Remember not all universities have the same budgets and/or resources. Can you imagine Portland or USF having to travel every other week across the country??? And what about the other sports... how are they impacted. So now the Cross country and Tennis teams have to travel as well? Just silly.

007Zag
05-10-2010, 09:03 AM
You are already in a catholic conference. 7 of your 8 schools are catholic.

That's what I said. But it's not called the West Coast Catholic (and Pepperdine) Conference. It happened because there was a connection between the schools that made the facilitation of the athletic league easier, not because of a desire to have an explicitly "Catholic-only" league. Which is something I would have a problem with.

Now an all-Jesuit pre-season tournament, THAT is something I would like to see.

jazzdelmar
05-10-2010, 09:06 AM
catholic colleges have been earnestly secularizing for decades, for many good reasons -- govt funding, diversity, research and grant opportunities -- and for some not so good ones -- loss of identity, alumni relations. no way they go back and brand themselves as "catholic" anything. for yrs, st johns in ny lost millions each year in state aid grants because it refused to remove crucifixes from classrms. not sure if thats changed (liz wd know). many catholic colleges talk about their religious "legacy" and "heritage" as a balm to alums and worried parents looking for a safer haven for their kids. but joining a league that labels itself catholic, not gonna happen. in the beginning, the big east was pretty close to being a so-called catholic lg as is the wcc and maac now....thats as far as it will ever go.

Zag 77
05-10-2010, 09:17 AM
Despite lots of talk over the years, it has not been possible to get a bunch of Catholic schools together for a tournament, let alone a new conference. Try to do a tournament first.

ZagKing09
05-10-2010, 09:31 AM
Now an all-Jesuit pre-season tournament, THAT is something I would like to see.

Now that's intriguing... Gonzaga, Marquette, Georgetown, Xavier, Creighton, St. John's, USF, Boston College? (others could be LMU? SCU? Fordham? Seattle U? Loyola? SLU?)

I think that there are 5-6 very solid teams with some decent teams to round out at field to 8, but I don't think that going bigger than that would be worth it (but I really like this idea)

sullyzag66
05-10-2010, 09:44 AM
Portland is a Catholic school; brothers of the Holy Cross.

I wouldn't want to see it happen, for more theological reasons than logistical. Explicitly having a "Catholic" league just doesn't jive with me for some reason. The WCC practically already is, with the only exception being Pepperdine, but I think that developed because of logistics, not out of a faith-based league imperative.
Holy Cross is a priestly order; they also run Notre Dame. I suspect the reference that UP was not a Catholic school was in jest.

zagfan08
05-10-2010, 09:50 AM
I appreciate you trying to get us out of the WCC since our basketball team would benefit, but the travel would be too immense.

kitzbuel
05-10-2010, 09:56 AM
If some major Big 10/Big East shake up caused a re-alignement I think it would be much more likely for the likes of G-Town and Villanova and other similar East Coast schools to go to or raid the A-10. There are like 9 Catholic schools all within 5 hours of each other. They wouldn't have any air travel costs.

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 10:39 AM
FlyZag: would travel really be that much worse than Providence or Seton Hall flying out to Milwaukee or Chicago or Indianapolis right now? How about Marquette & DePaul having to fly to DC, Philly, NYC, Rhode Island, New Jersey all the time? For basketball, is there really that much of a difference between a 3 hr flight from New York to Chicago or a 6 hr flight from New York to Seattle or SF?

For non-revenue sports, you could divide the conference into divisions to reduce travel expenses.

For Gonzaga, this might be a big change. But the Big East schools (and even Xavier) have been logging big travel miles for decades and still turning a profit and graduating students.

In response to the person (Kitzbuel) suggesting the Big East raid the A10: The Big East is not interested in stacking up local teams. Never been the philosophy. Key to good tv contracts and good exposure is to capture new markets, not duplicate existing markets. You will not see the Big East BB schools go after a URI (Providence) or GW (Gtown) or St. Joe's or Temple (Nova), or Fordham (St. John's). You don't try to minimize travel costs at the expense of maximizing exposure, tv revenue, and a high level competitive conference. That's the mid-major way of thinking. Expand to different markets, don't grab inferior teams already in your backyard in hopes of saving a few dollars on travel costs.

007Zags, I don't know why you are so hung up on the "catholic" part of the conference. Why are you categorizing this as a desire to have a "catholic only" league? Think more about like minded institutions trying to put together the best national basketball conference they can. Who cares if they are all catholic or jewish or muslim schools? I don't. The only reason the catholic issue exists is that all these schools happen to be catholic, and the powers that be at these schools are mostly priests, and if something like this is going to happen it is more likely to happen with other catholic schools (that's why Marquette and DePaul were added, that's why ND is sticking with Nova and GTown). I wouldn't want the name of any religion in the title of the league either.

Just like the WCC was formed because there was a connection between schools desiring an athletic league, this would be similar. These schools have similar academic missions and goals. They are run in similar manners. They want to have a high exposure basketball league. Forget that the similarity is catholic affiliations (much like the WCC), we're not talking about having mass at half time and refusing to play on Sundays. Think of the similarity as private schools run in similar fashions rather than the religious aspect.

FlyZag
05-10-2010, 10:53 AM
FlyZag: would travel really be that much worse than Providence or Seton Hall flying out to Milwaukee or Chicago or Indianapolis right now? How about Marquette & DePaul having to fly to DC, Philly, NYC, Rhode Island, New Jersey all the time? For basketball, is there really that much of a difference between a 3 hr flight from New York to Chicago or a 6 hr flight from New York to Seattle or SF?

For non-revenue sports, you could divide the conference into divisions to reduce travel expenses.



YES, travel would be that much worse. No disrespect intended... but there is a 100% difference between a 3 hr flight and a 6 hr flight. duh! And yes it IS a big deal. Ask anybody who travels for a living. Look at a map, Chicago to NY = 711 miles. Chicago to Spokane = 1505 miles. MORE THAN DOUBLE. The NY kids going West would TRIPLE their mileage... YIKES! Oh, and not every school has a charter like the Zags. So how many direct flights into Spokane do you think there are? It would be two and three stops along the way. Remember these are STUDENTS and all this extra travel would mean more time out of the classroom.

LynetteG
05-10-2010, 10:57 AM
Yeah, travel from the pacific time zone to eastern is a disaster. Not only is the flight 6 hrs but we also lose 3 hrs just crossing time zones. The entire day of travel is wasted...now, coming back to the west coast is awesome since we gain 3 hrs but I digress about that....

Lynette, one who flies to Michigan quite a bit and HATES the trip there.

007Zag
05-10-2010, 11:02 AM
007Zags, I don't know why you are so hung up on the "catholic" part of the conference. Why are you categorizing this as a desire to have a "catholic only" league? Think more about like minded institutions trying to put together the best national basketball conference they can. Who cares if they are all catholic or jewish or muslim schools? I don't. The only reason the catholic issue exists is that all these schools happen to be catholic, and the powers that be at these schools are mostly priests, and if something like this is going to happen it is more likely to happen with other catholic schools (that's why Marquette and DePaul were added, that's why ND is sticking with Nova and GTown). I wouldn't want the name of any religion in the title of the league either.


Ok, cool, then we agree. The idea of having it be an explicitly Catholic-only league, in the face of logistic problems, just rubs e the wrong way. But I think you've sufficiently cleared that up.

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 11:12 AM
no disrespect intended, flyzag, but the 9 schools we're talking about fly charter. the smallest BB budget among these schools is still $4+ mill (Gonzaga is at $3 mill now), so I wouldn't worry about whether Providence or Seton Hall or St. John's or Villanova or Georgetown can afford a flight.

I travel a lot. I fly a lot. If I'm making a 3 hour flight, or a 6 hour flight, it really is not that big a difference. Couple more hours on a plane, so what? Once you get past the 90 minute flight, you are chopping off a huge portion of your day already, the extra couple hours in the air are not a big deal.

1,500 miles is a lot, but no more than Boston to Miami, no more than Washington to Arizona State. And this is why the conference would need to add a couple west coast teams, to cut down some of the travel among each other and to allow reasonable options. Not like Gonzaga field hockey would have to spend all their time in New Jersey.

Seems like a real defeatist/small time attitude on this subject. A few too many additional hours on a plane, etc... ? Well, that's big time athletics. It is a different game than the WCC one you have been playing. If it were all about logistics, you would have Villanova in a conference with Temple, St. Joe's and La Salle, and St. John's joined up with Fordham. Logistics are a hurdle, but the goal is much larger than convenient travel partners. The goal is more in line with national exposure, national identity, highest level of competition possible, increased revenue for the school, increased name recognition for the school. Logistical convenience is far from the goal of conference affiliation.

Martin Centre Mad Man
05-10-2010, 11:29 AM
I don't really like the idea of a national Catholic conference for pretty much all of the reasons that others have raised - mostly travel costs and travel time for the players.

However, I love the idea of a big Catholic schools preseason tournament that would pit one elite Catholic school from each of several leagues playing for something along the lines of a "Pope's Trophy." You could represent quite a few of the better conferences, including the ACC (BC); Big East (G-Town, Nova, ND, Marquette, etc.); A-10 (Dayon, Xavier, St. Joe's); Missouri Valley Conference (Creighton); Conference USA (Tulsa); and WCC (Gonzaga, St. Mary's), along with a sprinkling of other competitive teams from lesser conferences, such as Fairfield, Iona, Niagra, and Siena.

Another option might be to create a made for TV Catholic Schools challenge pitting the better Catholic teams from around the country against each other for an ESPN event. This might be played along the lines of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 11:37 AM
no interest at all in a pre-season catholic tournament. we already play the best catholic programs/competition in our regular season. what do we gain from sacrificing a chance to play in Maui or the pre-season NIT (you are only allowed one pre-season tourney)? pre-season tournaments are opportunities to play big schools from other conferences, not BC, Holy Cross, St. Joe's or Fordham.

also, as 007zag and I have discussed, I don't think the catholic angle is a draw at all. Who cares if the tournament is a catholic tournament or simply an invitational tournament? in terms of conference affiliation, that would work because the university presidents and school missions are all similar and a conference affiliation is a much bigger commitment to each other (as opposed to capitalizing on the catholic aspect). For a pre-season tournament, who cares? Besides Xavier and Gonzaga, who else is out there (keep in mind that Boston College is blackballed).

thespywhozaggedme
05-10-2010, 12:11 PM
no interest at all in a pre-season catholic tournament. we already play the best catholic programs/competition in our regular season. what do we gain from sacrificing a chance to play in Maui or the pre-season NIT (you are only allowed one pre-season tourney)? pre-season tournaments are opportunities to play big schools from other conferences, not BC, Holy Cross, St. Joe's or Fordham.

also, as 007zag and I have discussed, I don't think the catholic angle is a draw at all. Who cares if the tournament is a catholic tournament or simply an invitational tournament? in terms of conference affiliation, that would work because the university presidents and school missions are all similar and a conference affiliation is a much bigger commitment to each other (as opposed to capitalizing on the catholic aspect). For a pre-season tournament, who cares? Besides Xavier and Gonzaga, who else is out there (keep in mind that Boston College is blackballed).

You don't play us, BC, Creighton, Tulsa, etc.

Hoya_Saxa
05-10-2010, 12:37 PM
We played BC for years, they were a punching bag. Their AD has asked every year for us to play them again, we say no every year. They are hardly an elite catholic hoops program.

Tulsa and Creighton? If we wanted to play them, we would. We could probably do so with a 2 for 1 home/away deal or a 1 home/1 neutral court deal. These aren't highly respected catholic hoops programs, no need to sacrifice another pre-season tournament to play these schools.

The only good catholic basketball programs we do not already play are Xavier and Gonzaga. I would gladly play either team in out of conference games. But no need to set up some pre-season tournament to make this happen.

I can see from a Gonzaga perspective why a catholic tournament might be intriguing. It opens new doors for you. But it does very little for schools like Georgetown, Nova, St. John's, Notre Dame or Marquette. We already play all the good catholic schools except for Gonzaga and Xavier.

GoZags
05-11-2010, 07:48 AM
We played BC for years, they were a punching bag. Their AD has asked every year for us to play them again, we say no every year. They are hardly an elite catholic hoops program.

Tulsa and Creighton? If we wanted to play them, we would. We could probably do so with a 2 for 1 home/away deal or a 1 home/1 neutral court deal. These aren't highly respected catholic hoops programs, no need to sacrifice another pre-season tournament to play these schools.

The only good catholic basketball programs we do not already play are Xavier and Gonzaga. I would gladly play either team in out of conference games. But no need to set up some pre-season tournament to make this happen.

I can see from a Gonzaga perspective why a catholic tournament might be intriguing. It opens new doors for you. But it does very little for schools like Georgetown, Nova, St. John's, Notre Dame or Marquette. We already play all the good catholic schools except for Gonzaga and Xavier.

I wish your AD and/or hoops scheduler felt the same way as you do. But, like it is at our GU, and virtually every other program in the country -- they do what they want regardless of message board banter and fan wishes.

5 years ago it was a done deal -- 4 school tourney in DC -- St. Joe's had given up their home date with the Zags in Philly to accomplish this. Day 1 was to be Georgetown/St. Peter's and St. Joe's/Zags and day 2 was loser/loser and winner/winner. Georgetown pulled the plug (at least that's what Joe Lunardi of St. Joe's told me while seated next to me on a flight). This initially was a deal set up at the University President's level... but did not come to fruition.

Two years ago Georgetown was to be Gonzaga's opponent in the "Battle in Seattle" with a return game at MCI. But again, the plug was pulled (in favor of Georgetown v Memphis if I recall correctly).

I realize nothing is in the bag until it is in the bag -- but a couple of times it WAS in the bag, and the bag was closing when Georgetown popped out of it.

I believe there will be a day when GU Sr plays GU Jr -- and I'll look forward to it (hopefully it will be in my lifetime).

I've wanted this game since a bunch of us hosted a slew of Georgetown folks here in Seattle in '84 (now that was a tourney -- great memories for me and I can only assume awesome memories for you).

bartruff1
05-11-2010, 08:52 AM
Loony Tunes idea...

BobZag
05-11-2010, 10:17 AM
Hoya is onto something. It may sound crazy but that's how out-of-the-box thinking comes across most times.

Fact is, the Big 10 is expanding and others will follow suit. Non-BCS schools like Utah, TCU, etc., will soon be BCS. The power conferences will expand and devour until their football revenue is through the roof. Huge changes are coming. Little schools like WCC'ers will be on the outside looking in. These Super Conferences could say goodbye to the NCAA and form their own governing body which could form a March Tourney of their own, either leaving smaller schools out or perhaps inviting a few to their party.

A pre-emptive move like what Hoya suggests could prove beneficial and might even include schools like Gonzaga in the power structure. To sit still and do nothing could be the end.

Changes are a-coming.

MDABE80
05-11-2010, 11:50 AM
Million per cent agree with BZ.
1. Pre-emption would eliminate or temper the upcoming changes.
2. BCS schools would lose their...shall we say...extraordinary influence in basketball.
3. How about substiuting our 2-3 trips east in the OOC and make them be part of a strong league? Not all but some of those games.
4. Revenues would soar to offset expense.
5. Mid major teams are in the backseat and it'll get worse....the big boys mean us no good will.
6. Seeding would be more fair.
7. Add the WCC teams (2 or 3 anyway)
8. Recruiting to that conference would be much easier.

About 10 other reasons why this idea should be given strong consideration.
Honestly unless something like this begins soon, it's like burying our heads in the sand. RIght now , simply too much advantage is given the BCS/State schools. A strong league would help with parity.... political and team parity.
A strong union can lead to other things as well.

We must begin thinking of this. In 10 years, it's stand together or do some serious sinking. The idea has merit. One not to be discarded on a whim.
Wealth, power, status.....solves all three of those issues and gets us closer to like minded institutions. Chop the country into east-west or north-south....but make it happen. It's a unique solution to think on. I don't think we're doomed without it but we'll all get weaker.

Every new innovative idea has naysayers. Put some energy into the positive side...I don't like the whole idea but I like enough to put some thought into it.

Hoya_Saxa
05-11-2010, 02:52 PM
A pre-emptive move like what Hoya suggests could prove beneficial and might even include schools like Gonzaga in the power structure. To sit still and do nothing could be the end.

Changes are a-coming.

Exactly. Let's be on the right side of the change. We build a super conference, focused on great national hoops.

how about this conference:
1. georgetown
2. villanova
3. st. john's
4. notre dame
5. gonzaga
6. xavier
7. marquette
8. butler
9. seton hall
10. providence
11. depaul
12. san francisco
13. portland
14. st. louis
15. creighton
16. st. mary's

that school would have plenty of games televised nationally, would be on the national stage, and would be a major factor in the ever changing landscape.

it would also provide enough geographic diversity to make travel reasonable for the east coast, midwest and west coast schools.

break up into divisions for non-revenue sports.

MDABE80
05-11-2010, 03:55 PM
Give us Notre Dame, St Louis, Marquette, Portland, St Marys, Butler, Creighton...and those 7 plus GU will be the Western Division. DePaul is optional! Deal's done! Let's begin this November! Go Zags!

Leave USF off. They hate us and will hate me further for saying this: They are mean spirited, second rate, and should quit basketball once and for ALL!
Division II would welcome them. I know...sounds outrageous. It is! Fire with fire and all that! Take THAT Dons Central!