- Feb 26, 2017
Oh boy, where to start? I think you are talking about the formal invite of 2010.Zissou, I'm curious. Why did 'Nova turn down the opportunity to upgrade football and join oBE football?
Nova and UConn were invited up in the 1990s. UConn moved up and Nova declined. At the time Nova’s stadium was an issue (12,500) and the administration was weak on sports.
By 2010 the Big East was in need of Nova to move up. Nova was invited, but instead of being ready or proactively planning for the potential opportunity, Nova didn’t know how to respond. The AD was a guy promoted up from running the ticket office and was in way over his head. The President (same one as today) was a theatre guy with no interest in sports, and he would openly talk down sports. Having Jay Wright was a very fortunate and lucky position for the basketball program. He built the program in spite of the lack of interest, and had a long leash because of the lack of interest.
Nova decided that it needed to produce a “study“ to respond to the invite. So it studied, and dithered, and discussed, and pondered. For over 6 months. While Nova dithered, the conference needed a member. TCU signed up. With a study complete and a recommendation to Nova’s leadership to accept the invite, a Board of Trustees meeting was set up to rubber stamp the move.
Unfortunately, the President and the AD completely mishandled the process. They were all patting themselves on the back and getting ready to formalize the move up, but they had not stayed close and informed with their conference peers. With TCU signed, the conference need was less. The invite was not still fresh and they didn’t even know it. The plan was to play in the nearby Philadelphia Union stadium (18,000). Pitt, WVU, and Rutgers conspired to withdraw the invite. Pitt was a leader in the politics. At the same time Pitt was screwing up the conf TV deal and also back channeling to the ACC for membership. No honor among conference presidents.
With an embarrassingly stale invite, the Nova BOT cancelled their vote. The rest is history.
Nova had won the FCS title in 2009 and was competitive with FBS programs like Temple.
While other programs in the conference conspired against Nova, the biggest fault in the failed move lies with Nova itself. The leadership was incompetent and fumbled the invite. In hindsight it wasn’t a scandal, because they didn’t care that they mismanaged it. It’s only football.
Nova is lucky to have Jay. The coach always gets credit for a successful program, but in Nova’s case Jay deserves ALL of the credit.