What’s in a Name? Effects of the Big East Name Change

This year’s March Madness marks the last year that many of the traditional Big East schools will represent their conference in the tournament. Next year, the Big East will be completely made-over, reflecting little of its Eastern history and rivalries.
The official split of the conference is effective July 1. Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are headed to the ACC and Rutgers is headed to the Big Ten. 
Seven of the league’s Catholic schools are also leaving to form their own basketball-focused league. These seven Catholic schools will take with them the Big East name and the Madison Square Garden location for their post-season tournament. 
Even with all of this movement, there are leftover schools in the Big East for the upcoming year. The schools are: Temple, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, South Florida and Southern Methodist. “America 12” is one of the names being considered for this conference. 
Looking at the Big East’s long history and tradition, being a college basketball fan and being a student at Temple. I couldn’t help but think about the PR implications of this split for the new America 12, the Catholic 7 and Temple (my university). 
  • America 12: With many of the Big East powerhouses exiting the league, I’m not sure if the America 12 will be able to uphold the reputation that comes with the Big East name. I believe it will take a while for fans of these schools to get used to the new name and what it means. 
  • Catholic 7 (Will take Big East name): Will this league be thought of as a phony Big East? Although the league simply bought the Big East name, the schools involved are all schools in the east with long-standing basketball dominance and tradition. I think the name will still resonate with fans. In respect to name recognition and branding, the Catholic 7 may be the group getting the most out of this deal. 
  • Temple: In spring 2012, there was lots of hype around Temple’s move back to the Big East. It seems though, as soon as we sat down at the Big East table, all the major players got up. As a soon-to-be graduate of the university I am sad to say that this may be a setback of the reputation of our athletics but I hope the America 12 name will become as respected as the Big East name. 
Do you have other thoughts regarding the split? Let us know. Enjoy the rest of March Madness! 
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kyra Mazurek

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