Auriemma Outspoken on Notre Dame

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This week in "Geno Speaks His Mind," the Huskies basketball coach takes on the evils perpetrated by Notre Dame's football program before lauding their women's basketball team.

We've mentioned countless times that Auriemma isn't one to shy away from speaking his mind and the decision to do so is unaffected by his audience, or the number of television cameras and microphones that might be in the vicinity. This is one of the ancillary benefits to winning seven national championships. You're not restrained by political correctness or the fear that someone in university administration will come down on you for saying what everybody else is thinking.

"The only thing you're sure of is they don't play [football] in our league and never want to play in our league," Auriemma said in New York City Thursday, according to the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs. "For a lot of us, it's a huge problem.

"They've been in our league something like [17] years. How long are we going to date before we just decide this ain't working? I'm not happy about it. That's not the opinion of UConn, the Big East Conference, my president, my AD. That's just Geno Auriemma's opinion. I'm pissed about it."

Leaves little room for misinterpretation. (By the way, we'd love to know what Geno thinks about BC athletic director Eugene DeFilippo.)

Auriemma's point -- now that we're knee-deep in all this conference realignment talk -- is that if Notre Dame's football team had joined the Big East, we wouldn't be rending our garments and gnashing our teeth now about the current state of the conference.

"If Notre Dame had come in as a football and basketball school, all in, we wouldn't have a problem," Auriemma said. "Miami wouldn't have left. Virginia Tech wouldn't have left. Boston College wouldn't have left [all for the ACC]. We probably wouldn't have any of these issues, would we? We have one school that holds the future of our league in the palm of their hand and they're not really that concerned about it. That's my opinion now. You asked me a question. I'm telling you an answer."

The reason they're not concerned about it (or at least don't appear to be)? Money, obviously. The very same reason Syracuse and Pitt are jumping off the USS Big East, which is headed straight for an iceberg.

But Auriemma also had some nice things to say about the Fighting Irish, though, admittedly, none had to do with the football program. The women's basketball team, however, had little trouble drawing his praise.

For the first time in six years, the Huskies weren't picked to finish No. 1 in the conference. That honor went to Notre Dame.

“He’s always looking for different ways to motivate us and challenge us,” junior Kelly Faris said Thursday, according to the Courant. “He’s told us that basically we are a new team and whatever happened last season does not matter anymore. And he’s trying to get us to figure it out by ourselves by placing us in positions during practice that force us to solve situations by ourselves.”

The Fighting Irish beat the Huskies in the Final Four before losing to Texas A&M in the national title game.

“I would think that if you go to the national championship game and bring back so many of your key players, I would say that absolutely they should be No. 1.”

And it's hard to argue with that logic. Just don't ask Auriemma this thoughts on Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn, or if he's seen "Rudy" recently.

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