IN MY Friday column, I inserted a tidbit that may have been overlooked in the storm that was Marshall's basketball victory over West Virginia in the Capital Classic.
The tidbit had to do with ESPN and the Big East.
The word I'm getting is the two entities are beginning to discuss whether it's in their interests to negotiate a new contract.
You may have heard the latest in regard to college athletics and television: Texas signed a 20-year $300-million deal with ESPN. (As if the Longhorn program needed it.)
It's the latest report of spikes in television money regarding conference athletics. The SEC signed a 15-year deal with ESPN and CBS in July 2009 worth $3 billion. The ACC signed a 12-year deal with ESPN worth $1.86 billion.
The Big East, meanwhile, seriously lags behind all of the other BCS conferences at around $40 million. Back in 2006, deals were reached with ESPN and ABC for football that run through 2013. The hoops deal, which includes CBS, runs through the 2012-13 season.
Since then, ex-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was enlisted to help, and word is he's been concentrating on the television issues. Also, TCU has been approved as a future Big East member.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said if new members are added before the current TV contracts expire, his office could seek to renegotiate.
Thus, apparently, brings us to this point: Both the conference and ESPN are deciding if this is the time to negotiate.
It's a crucial time for Marinatto. A crucial call.
The Big East could decide this is the time to negotiate and try to strike a deal while the dollars are flying. Maybe it's time to strike, even though the league is coming off one of its worst football seasons ever.