Did ESPN blow up Big East?
Gene DeFilippo, Boston College’s athletic director, was shockingly candid in an interview The Boston Globe published Sunday.
First, he admitted BC blocked Connecticut from joining the ACC, saying, “We didn’t want them in. It was a matter of turf.’’
His biggest bombshell addressed ESPN’s alleged role in the ACC adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse, a body blow to the Big East:
“We always keep our television partners close to us. You don’t get extra money for basketball. It’s 85 percent football money. TV — ESPN — is the one who told us what to do.’’
Whoa! So did ESPN try to enhance the ACC, with which it has a contract, over the Big East, which turned down a new deal from ESPN this past spring?
The conference denied that. ESPN did, too. “The driving force on realignment lies with the conferences and universities,’’ a spokesman said.
Still, ESPN’s college deals do have a “conference composition clause’’ that triggers discussions on rights values when teams are added or subtracted.