Herbst Will Do ‘What's Best' for UConn

You may have heard something about two of the Big East's cornerstone programs, Pitt and Syracuse, bolting for the ACC. It didn't take UConn long to issue a "cover all your bases" statement that said the university was a proud member of the Big East … but would do what was in its best interest going forward. It's the higher academics version of "Yes, we're still dating because I haven't found someone better yet."

UConn president Susan Herbst has issued another statement after representatives for the remaining Big East member schools convened in New York Tuesday night, presumably plotting their next move in light of the news that Pitt and Syracuse are gone (or will be by no later than 2014).

“The past several days have magnified the period of instability that exists today in the world of college athletics," Herbst said. "I want to say thank you to all of our loyal supporters and fans of UConn and our athletic programs for their patience during this time.

“Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut. We remain committed to our ideals and principals in intercollegiate athletics and will continue to achieve excellence academically and athletically.”

Herbst's comments are just vague enough to be taken any number of ways. UConn could stay in the Big East … or leave. Ultimately, it comes down to one thing -- money. And that's not an indictment against the university, it's what motivates every program in the country, big or small.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto was also at the Tuesday night meeting and he says each member school pledged to remain in the conference as the league searches for replacements for Pitt and Syracuse.

Details via a statement released by the Big East: "Our membership met this evening and we are committed as a conference to recruit top level BCS-caliber institutions with strong athletic and academic histories and traditions. We have been approached by a number of such institutions and will pursue all of our options to make the Big East Conference stronger than it has ever been in both basketball and football."

The jockeying is already underway for schools across the country looking to improve their standing -- and the bottom line. The Hartford Courant's Dom Amore hits the highlights:

* Navy, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida, East Carolina, Memphis and Houston have been mentioned as candidates to join the Big East. According to a source, East Carolina has already applied to the Big East.

* UConn and Rutgers would probably join the ACC if an invitation is offered.Notre Dame is a huge factor in all of this.

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