For the record, I am not crazy about the Conference USA basketball tournament moving to El Paso for 2011. For one thing, the chances of the Charleston papers staffing the event dwindled on the spot. (Though right now, air fare for that week in March is reasonable.)
But do bear in mind one thing: The league will be welcomed there like no other city. And that includes Memphis, which is the best site geographically and in regard to tourist-related activities. Memphis people have been hospitable enough, in the Beale Street/Tunica/Graceland sense, but have given the league the Bronx cheer otherwise.
And now, the whining commences in the Memphis paper. Props to Geoff Calkins for today’s entertainment.
Humor aside, I specifically remember the league kowtowing to Memphis, granting John Calipari’s request for a 14-game schedule in 2005-06, then only bumping it to a 16-game schedule the next year. Calipari even got to pick his “mirror” opponents, with an eye to jacking up the Tigers’ RPI.
What did the league get for that? It got smacked hard in the local media, led by the Commercial Appeal’s hatchet job on the opening day for the 2007 tournament. I figured the ADs wouldn’t forget that, and we saw that this week.
With all that, Memphis turns around and shows the same *exact* sense of entitlement Charleston showed when Wheeling seized the Super Six football championships about 16 years ago.
As I said before, the Tigers’ basketball program belongs in the SEC. The football program belongs in the Sun Belt. If they leave, we might miss them. A little bit.
That said … stay tuned for my two cents Monday on a few of the other actions by the athletic directors. When you put 12 of them in the same room, strange things can happen.