Why is everybody making this so difficult?
Why is everybody making this so complicated and convoluted?
Why is everybody trying to come up with different equations and formulas about how the league formerly known as the Big East should divvy up the $100 million windfall that is about to come in the form of exit fees, entrance fees and other revenues?
This should not even be an issue.
Here's how it should be divided up: You take the 11 schools — three leftover members and eight incoming members — in the new league and you give everybody the same amount.
See how easy that was?
Except there are two problems with my solution: (1) I have about 14 paragraphs to go before this column is over. (2) When it comes to the greed involved in the money-grubbing, money-grabbing world of conference realignment, nothing is ever easy.
Mark Blaudschun, a reporter who covered the Big East for years at the Boston Globe, wrote recently in his blog — ajerseyguy.com — that there is already infighting about how the money will be split between the leftover members of the league (USF, Cincinnati and UConn) and the eight incoming members (UCF, SMU, Memphis, Houston, Temple, East Carolina, Navy and Tulane). Blaudschun and others have reported that the leftover Big East members want to keep as much as 90 percent of the financial windfall while the incoming eight schools will be tossed a few remaining crumbs.
UCF athletics director Todd Stansbury is part of a six-member panel that will meet this week to begin deciding how the money will be split. He told Sentinel reporter Paul Tenorio earlier this week: "We want to obviously consider what has been earned by the three existing Big East schools, and at the same time recognizing it's important that all of our programs are elevated as quickly as they can be. Because at the end of the day, the brand of this conference is going to be determined by our ability to be competitive."
If you're going to establish a brand-new conference, which essentially is what's happening here, everybody must start on equal footing. It would be different if UCF and a couple of other schools were joining an established league that already had a solid nucleus of teams. Then a case could be made that the new members wouldn't deserve much of anything. But the fact is, USF, Cincinnati and UConn wouldn't even have a conference if UCF and the seven other new members weren't joining.
UCF and several of the new members should share equally in the windfall because the league they are joining is not the league they thought they were joining.
They thought they were joining an automatic qualifying BCS league that would earn them each about $10 million a year in TV money. Instead, they're joining a league on life support that will net them about $2 million a year in TV money.
They thought they were joining a tradition-rich basketball league that included the storied Catholic 7 schools, Notre Dame, Louisville and a Big East conference tournament played every year in Madison Square Garden. Instead, they are joining an unnamed, watered-down basketball league with a conference tournament that will be played in parts unknown.
They thought they were joining a football league with teams that included Louisville, Boise State and Rutgers. Instead, they are starting a football league that wouldn't even exist if they weren't joining it.
Granted, the three leftover Big East schools — USF, Cincinnati and UConn — have suffered from the mass exodus of teams from their league and should be compensated. But they've suffered no more and should be compensated no more than incoming schools like UCF, SMU and Houston.
If you're going to start a new conference, all teams must be created equal.
On the field, in the classroom and, most importantly, at the bank deposit window.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.