Syracuse and Pittsburgh, two major programs in the Big East, both moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference last week, moving college sports to the drastic conference realignment that it has been inching toward for the past year.
The departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaves 14 schools in the Big East, but only seven with football programs, the sport that has ultimately been driving the massive moves between conferences.
It is unclear whether the Syracuse and Pitt basketball programs would still be play in the Big East, which is arguably the most popular men's basketball conference in the country. Outside of the NCAA tournament each March, the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden is the sport's most exciting annual event.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh are two of the conferences most successful basketball programs, and without them in the conference the stature of the Big East would be comprised.
For the time being, schools still left in the Big East are sounding optimistic that the conference can be saved.
"We are confident in the Big East's tradition and believe in the strong core among its remaining institutions," said Chris Monasch, director of athletics at St. John's University. "We know the conference is being proactive and diligent amidst this changing landscape."
Second year men's basketball coach, Steve Lavin, who just brought in one of the most highly touted recruiting classes in the country, said St. John's was unique in it's ability to survive the changes in the Big East.
"The St. John’s family can rest assured in knowing that our program will continue to thrive as a college basketball program of distinction," said Lavin. "We are uniquely positioned to build upon our rich heritage and winning tradition.
“Competing in the largest media market in the country, playing our home games at Madison Square Garden, having a rabid, loyal fan base and being located in a region of the country that has the best high school basketball prospects are just a few of the reasons St. John’s will continue its winning ways,” he added.