Conference Realignment: Johns Hopkins is Actually Thinking About Joining a Conference

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Are the Blue Jays on the move? And if so, to where and when?

Remember that time that a Maryland recruiting site tweeted something about Johns Hopkins joining the Big Ten as a lacrosse-only member and everyone lost their minds, writing comments on the Internet that basically cribbed lyrics from Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" and, probably, going to the grocery store for milk, bread, and toilet paper? Do you remember that? No? Well, let me refresh your memory: It happened, and it happened on this very Internet computing page.

Terry Foy, the hardest working man in lacrosse and the guy that -- with The Washington Post's Christian Swezey -- has been on the forefront of the Hopkins-is-doing-whatnow? story, is rekindling the fires of anarchy, working the phones and talking to humans and discovering that Johns Hopkins is, in fact, seriously considering joining a league at some point in the future (maybe):

[C]oach Dave Pietramala, athletic director Tom Calder and the rest of the Blue Jay staff can consider the future of the program and its possible conference decision more narrowly than most of their counterparts. In a conversation with IL earlier in January, Pietramala said while his program hasn’t joined a league or been offered an invitation to join a league and no decision is imminent, Hopkins is considering its options to abandon its long-lived independence.

“We have not joined any conference,” Pietramala said. “We have been approached by several, and like anything else, you do your due diligence. You research the pros and cons of things.”

Pietramala wouldn’t confirm whether a prospective Big Ten men’s lacrosse conference is one that’s approached the Blue Jays, but multiple sources have told IL that the Big Ten, the Big East (or a representative of the future Big East) and the ECAC are among those interested in Johns Hopkins.

This is probably the point where you go running and screaming through the streets in rapt fear that Godzilla is coming and that you and your personal property are not safe. It's that kind of serious, you guys.

One of the big things brought up in the Hopkins-to-Big-Ten rumor has been the Big Ten's historic disgust for affiliated members; the conference's delay in forming a men's hockey league serving as a signpost for whether Jim Delany's Money Printing Concern would sponsor men's lacrosse. Welp, everyone that was worried about that was just a Doomsday prepper that was focused on the wrong death rays:

Heather Lyke is an associate athletic director at Ohio State, a member of the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Committee and a driving factor in the future of lacrosse in the Big Ten. She said 10 days ago, in advance of the Big Ten Sports Management Committee meetings in Chicago, that nothing had been offered or even discussed with any certainty, but mentioned that all options for all sports would be considered, and any decisions coming out of the meetings would likely be made early-to-mid-February.

Among the considerations, she seemed to indicate that adding affiliate members for individual sports could be on the table, which may come as a surprise to college hockey fans who for years awaited Big Ten hockey prior to Penn State’s adding the sport this season.

“We’ll be going through every one of our sports and we have to analyze each one of them,” Lyke said. “Obviously we’ll consider how [affiliate conference membership] impacts those particular sports and what are the best options for those programs.”

This reaffirms the only thing you can trust in conference realignment: There are no absolutes, and people and institutions are just as prone to act erratically as much as they are to operate in a consistent manner. This is the world we live in, pals and gal pals, and none of it makes any sense anymore.

Foy details all kinds of other things -- that Hopkins is drawing interest from, at this point, the ECAC and Big East; that Hopkins' television contract is a concern for the Blue Jays in this entire process, etc. -- and you should read his piece because those items are important to the process. I will, however, crib one more passage from the article:

When asked if he had a timeline for making any decisions regarding a conference, Pietramala laughed and said, “No, I’ve got rides and clears and second slides to worry about right now.” Pushed further as to whether he’d like any decision to be in place for the 2014, 2015, 2016 season or beyond, Pietramala said, “No, not right now. We're not in any hurry. That's not something you rush. The other thing is you want to make sure there's stability. There's still a lot of changes going on with the conferences. How can you make a decision without knowing who's going to be where? We've not put any kind of timetable down.”

Which obviously means that Hopkins isn't giving up its independence anytime soon. Or Hopkins is joining a league by this coming weekend. Whatever. You get the idea. The comments are yours to unleash valuable bon mots of wisdom.

For more on this story, check out College Crosse's StoryStream, which features all kinds of analysis (read: guesswork) and background information (read: currently useless material).

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