Talk stirring again on Villanova football in Big East

Posted: March 09, 2012

AT WEDNESDAY'S news conference welcoming Temple back into the Big East, commissioner John Marinatto gave every indication that Villanova might join the conference for football at some point. At the very least, the Big East is on record as trying to help position the program for that possibility.

Doesn't mean it will happen, only that it could.

Villanova's trustees were poised to vote last April to move up from the Football Championship Subdivision to the BCS and play football in the conference it's called home for almost everything else for 3 decades. The Big East backed off at the last moment, then the landscape changed. Dramatically. The changes might not be over.

Yesterday, coach Andy Talley, whose Wildcats won the FCS national title in 2009, spoke publicly for the first time about the news.

"It's obvious that the Big East is very interested in our football program," Talley said. "We've had a lot of long-term success. Joining the Big East, for sure, would enhance the exposure that our school has been striving toward, with the national attention that basketball [already] receives."

Villanova dropped football in 1980 before restoring it 5 years later at what was then called Division I-AA. So how would Talley, who has been there the entire way, feel to finally bring it all the way back?

"I think it would be a great achievement, only if we could sustain our 100 percent graduation rate and our winning tradition," he said. "The way the landscape's changing toward mega-conferences, I think it would be extremely helpful to any university to be part of that. I think Philadelphia would definitely support two teams with national exposure.

"There's been a tremendous amount of energy and study put into this effort, and as long as it would be mutually beneficial, then I think it would be hard to put a value on it. But going forward, it would be very, very high."


Contact Mike Kern at kernm@phillynews.com.

 

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