REPORTING ON college athletics has been boiled to this:
On Thursday morning, I read, via the Internet, a report that said the Big East Conference would issue invitations to Central Florida and Memphis as early as next week. An Orlando television station, WKMG, cited multiple sources.
I made a call to Big East associate commissioner John Paquette, who said his office was "officially denying the Orlando report.''
Knowing, though, the Internet was all, well, atwitter over the report, I approached Gazette managing editor Robert Byers about placing a story - the denial - on our website.
"The story has to do with the Internet world,'' I told Byers, "not the real world.''
We do try, though, to look out for our peeps in every way possible. So the denial was posted.
The Orlando Sentinel site said the Big East expansion "issue will be discussed [Thursday] during a teleconference by league officials.''
"No,'' said West Virginia University athletic director Ed Pastilong, "a conference call did not take place.''
"No, we didn't have one,'' said Big East director of communications Rachel Margolis.
So that's what's not happening. What is happening: A lot - and not much.
The feeling from here, after talking to sources, is Central Florida and Memphis might be positioned to step in if the Big East loses members. ("Might'' being a key word.) But I also get the feeling current league members aren't thrilled at the thought. The Big East would appear even more Conference USA-ish.
Paquette, however, would only say his office never "comments or speculates in public about specific schools. What we'll do is continue to talk to our member institutions.''
(He said, by the way, that last line was an exclusive to Gazette readers. To other outlets, he'd simply uncorked the first sentence. And you wondered why we're America's Paper.)
Oh, and those supposed talks about the Big East football schools splitting from the so-called basketball-only schools?
"The 16 [Big East schools] have been very solid,'' Pastilong said. "I don't foresee us splitting. I see us continuing [as one league].''