It was an underlying storyline in the whole Maryland-and-Rutgers-explode-an-atomic-bomb-on-the-planet thing, but it's certainly an issue: With Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Rutgers all departing the Big East at various points in time, can Big East lacrosse -- after completing only its third year of existence -- survive with what would only be five playing members?
Matt Kinnear at Inside Lacrosse got a honcho from the Big East on the line yesterday and if you're a Big East lacrosse fan, the remarks at least sound good:
Associate Commissioner for Olympic Sports Jim Siedliski said the conference as a whole is pursuing new membership. Among the institutions the Big East leadership is pursuing are schools that sponsor men's DI lacrosse, Siedliski said. Regardless, if the conference does not add an institution that sponsors lacrosse, it will pursue associate members to join the lacrosse conference and give the needed six teams.
“There's two ways to look at it: The hope that whoever our new members are going to be moving forward will sponsor men's lacrosse, and if they don't we will be aggressive in protecting our AQ,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
Siedliski said that the conference's constitution allows for them to bring in associate members if they are in jeopardy of losing their automatic qualifier. “We will begin to do our due diligence when the time is right, relative to what's going to protect our membership and our position of receiving an automatic bid. Once you get something,” he said, referring to the AQ. “You don't want to lose it.”
Alone that sounds promising -- if not, at least, hopeful -- but coupled with the following statement from Dave Pietramala in Christian Swezey's report in The Washington Post, there is a growing swell that maybe -- just maybe -- the Big East isn't totally doomed:
The Big East could add a school with men’s lacrosse or an associate member such as Johns Hopkins, currently an independent. Pietramala did not rule out joining a conference.
“We’re an independent right at this second,” he said. “But we have to do our due diligence and see what’s out there.”
Holy macaroni. As always, we now wait.