Catholic League: Why Didn't Irish Form Alliance Worthy of Golden Dome?
The nation's NCAA Division I conferences have been in a frenetic restructuring stage. It might sound hostile, but Catholic institutions missed an ample opportunity to assertively advance their "birth-control" cause amid the chaotic quest for megaleagues by "birthing" their own alliance.
Catholics crossing the Obama Administration recently over birth-control coverage is nothing new. Several years ago, a Cardinal from Boston said the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserting that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates "borders on scandal."
But also bordering on scandal were cardinal-faced coaches such as Notre Dame's Mike Brey and Louisville's Rick Pitino persistently trying in such a feeble fashion to abort the defections of Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia from the Big East Conference to other prominent leagues in the near future. Excluding Syracuse and West Virginia, the other 14 current Big East members probably won't boast an All-American this season. And embarrassing non-conference defeats at home or on a neutral court show the league is a far cry from its strength last year when it boasted 11 NCAA playoff participants - Cincinnati (lost to Presbyterian and Marshall), Connecticut (UCF), DePaul (Milwaukee), Pittsburgh (Wagner), Providence (Northern Iowa), St. John's (Northeastern), Seton Hall (Northwestern), South Florida (Old Dominion and Penn State), Villanova (Santa Clara) and West Virginia (Kent State). Villanova, only three years removed from a Final Four appearance, might have been by season's end the worst team among the six major universities in Philadelphia (Big 5 plus Drexel). Meanwhile, Notre Dame was mauled against Missouri by 29 points in Kansas City when the Irish still had its best player (subsequently injured Tim Abromaitis).
Brey should have been a candle-carrying visionary praying at Notre Dame's Grotto for divine revelation regarding Catholics democratically strategizing together. Why didn't the Irish spearhead an illuminating alignment with other Catholic-based universities and create what immediately would have been one of the premier basketball conferences in the country? The formation of "The Tradition" could have featured a 16-team tradition-rich league with East and West Dioceses--Creighton, Dayton, DePaul, Detroit, Marquette, Notre Dame, Saint Louis and Xavier in the West; Georgetown, Holy Cross, La Salle, Providence, St. John's, Saint Joseph's, Seton Hall and Villanova in the East.
Lighting the way, the Catholic Conference could have been depicted as the last bastion of ethics and morality promoting a doctrine/philosophy where basketball is king for all of the athletic programs sans Notre Dame. Their non-league scheduling could have focused on being charitable on a regular rotating basis to like-minded Canisius, Fairfield, Fordham, Gonzaga, Incarnate Word, Iona, Loyola of Chicago, Loyola (Md.), Loyola Marymount, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis (N.Y.), St. Francis (Pa.), Saint Mary's, Saint Peter's, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Seattle and Siena.
Rather than worshipping at the almighty-dollar altar akin to the majority of their secular brethren, the Jesuit schools could have shown them how to live (morality) by exercising some basic beliefs (the faith itself) exhibiting ethical and more rigid academic standards.
At the risk of facing excommunication for being too flippant, the commissioner could have been loosely designated as pope, the league home office could have been referred to as the Vatican, coaches could have been called priests, referees could have been regaled as bishops, arenas could have been dubbed as cathedrals, the loop's bylaws could have been portrayed as their creed while game and press conference scheduling could have been the loop's liturgical calendar.