In the ever evolving world of conference realignments, there is no doubt that media markets play a large role. Cincinnati had been in talks with the ACC about potentially moving from the Big East, and definitely would have brought a substantial market with them, but in the end their budget restrictions forced the conference to instead take rival Louisville.
In a one on one interview recently, Bill Koch of Cincinnati.com sat down with Bearcat athletic director Whit Babcock to gather his thoughts on the realignment situation and what it might possibly mean for head coach Butch Jones.
"I think we’ve got great coaches but our budget is one of the lowest ones at the BCS level and we have a good bit of debt from Varsity Village, so I think we’re challenged a lot from a budget standpoint. I think we need to make improvements to Nippert" Babcock explained, fully understanding the role that facilities and budget play such a big decision for a conference.
"Another thing I’ve learned about conference realignment is there’s about 10 percent that you can control and the other 90 percent is in the hands of other people. We want to compete at the highest level possible. That stance won’t change."
Babcock goes on to explain that their average BCS finish over the past five years is 16th. That's higher than all but one school in the ACC (Virginia Tech), and better than all Big East schools. So that has to count for something in Babcock's eyes. Everyone wants a bigger budget and better facilities, but Cincinnati has a pretty rich history, has been impressive over the handful of seasons, and has definitely made a name for themselves in the national spotlight. That's offering quite a bit to a new conference.
Another area that Babcock addressed was his faith on whether their conference realignment picture would increase the chances that Butch Jones would listen to other schools with a head coaching vacancy.
"I don’t know." Babcock explained. "I know he’s really popular in the coaching ranks. In one way I take it as a compliment that everybody’s interested in him. I think he’s a key part to our brand and I’d sure like to stop this revolving door of coaches leaving. He showed some good loyalty last year and so far this year he has. We’ll see how that goes."
He added that no other school has contacted him about Jones, but also noted "that etiquette is not always extended as much as it used to".
Yesterday, we had heard that Jones plans to meet with Purdue officials following Saturday's game, but that it the situation is by no means a done deal. Stay tuned to The Scoop page for more.