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Tri-State Sports: New York left out of realignment

By Matt Stypulkoski
On December 2, 2012

When you think conference realignment, what schools come to mind?
Probably UConn. After all, we are students here.
After that? Perhaps Louisville or Cincinnati, maybe Syracuse or Pittsburgh, even Texas A&M.
Somehow, I doubt you think St. John's. Seton Hall probably isn't the posterboy of realignment either.
And yet, those are the schools that are being hit hardest by this mess.
As we all know, UConn is between a rock and a hard place right now, trying desperately to find a way to leave the Big East and into a more secure conference.
But the nice part about being a student here and a fan of the Huskies is that even though the sky may have fallen in Storrs this week, we'll likely end up watching the sun rise from a stable conference sometime soon.
East Orange, N.J. and Queens, N.Y. however, aren't so lucky.
The real losers in all of this mess aren't the UConns or the Cincinnatis that have been left in the cold to this point. In fact, the only reason those schools are in the conversation to begin with is because they have built themselves up to a point where they're capable of making a move.
That also means they're capable of standing on their own.
Even if UConn doesn't get into the ACC or the Big Ten, the athletics department will almost certainly survive. Perhaps it won't be quite as strong as it is today, but by scheduling tough out of conference opponents, the Huskies can stay relevant in the national discussion.
The Pirates and Red Storm? Well, they're just dead in the water.
How exactly is a school like Seton Hall supposed to recruit in the new, realigned world of college sports?
The schools themselves are tough sells - small campuses in less than perfect areas with less than stellar athletics departments. But today, they can pitch the conference and make it mean something. Recruits love the ability to play against the top tier teams that the Big East can currently boast.
Two years from now, a conference with Tulane and Boise State - assuming they don't find a new home too - will be a heck of a lot harder to sell.
And unfortunately for them, they don't have a place to move.
Unlike UConn, Seton Hall can't go out and pedal its athletic prowess and market reach. Unlike UConn, St. John's won't be pitching their national championships and statewide fan base to a bigger, better conference anytime soon.
For schools like Seton Hall and St. John's, conference realignment means death.
The death of an era when they stood a chance of rising up and becoming relevant, even if just for a few years.
In the late '80s and early '90s, Seton Hall made two Elite Eights and a national championship game. In 1985, St. John's made a Final Four.
Maybe in the coming decades the Pirates and Red Storm can win some Big East titles and make a few NCAA Tournaments. But without the ability to sell a powerhouse conference, the chances of either of these schools becoming nationally relevant again is dying with each falling realignment-domino.
Unfortunately for them, there is no life raft. Unfortunately for them, there is no reason for hope.
Be glad, UConn fans, that we still stand a chance. 


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