UConn introduced Warde Manuel as its new Athletic Director Monday.
We don't know if we'd call it damage control, but in the wake of the announcement that Louisville -- and not UConn -- would join the ACC, the university hierarchy mobilized on Wednesday and released a statement on the most recent developments in conference realignment. The message: keep calm, carry on.
Via a statement released by the university, President Susan Herbst offered this message:
"I know this may seem like a tough moment for our fans, but we need to focus on the fundamentals of academic success across the university and in our athletic program as well," she said. "We are winners -- we win, we like to win and we will continue to play the best possible opponents. We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition. We will keep building our winning record through the lens of a great university, that focuses on academics, not on the fluid and unpredictable nature of conference realignment. Again, I realize this is a difficult day, but when we focus on research, discovery, and student success, we'll never go wrong."
Athletic director Warde Manuel sounded a similar tone.
“Conference realignment is a prominent national issue in collegiate athletics and will continue to be so into the future" he said. "UConn has established a rich history as a very successful academic and athletic institution. We understand that because of that UConn will continue to be brought up in the discussion regarding potential schools considered in realignment.
“We have and will continue to monitor the situation regarding conference realignment and work to ensure that UConn is in the best position for the continued success of our athletic programs. We are proud of the success of our coaches and student-athletes and the tradition that has been established of winning conference and national championships.
“We are proud and appreciative of our great Husky fan base. Husky Nation is strong all over the country and the world. UConn has one of the most captive audiences of any school in the country and we have strong penetration in several of the nation’s largest television markets.”
Of course, there's not much else to say at this point. UConn's ultimate fate is far from decided -- the ACC could expand to 16 schools at some point in the foreseeable future and perhaps the Huskies will be part of that conversation.
The Big East, which added Tulane and East Carolina to its ranks this week, also released a statement on Louisville's departure.
"The Big East has anticipated the continuing realignment that is reshaping college athletics and has already made important additions as part of our vision for the future. We will continue moving forward to fulfill that vision, which includes a strong national football conference and a strong and storied basketball conference. Big East teams will continue to compete and succeed at the highest level and, as always, will combine athletic and academic excellence. With schools stretching from coast to coast and in many of the top U.S. media markets, the Big East has become a truly national conference with outstanding young men and women competing across a full range of sports."