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Louisville Nearly Landed In A Big East/Big 12 Hybrid

Andy Lyons

ESPN's Brett McMurphy has a feature up today on the state of the Big 12 after all the realignment madness of 2011-2013.

The piece mostly centers around how happy the league's brass is with the way things wound up, but it does include one interesting tidbit for Louisville fans to digest.

"My favorite story that hasn't been written," Luck said. "After Syracuse and Pittsburgh (announced they were leaving for the ACC), that was in the same time frame that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were playing footsie with (Pac-12 commissioner) Larry (Scott) and the Big East was a mess."

So Luck began cold-calling athletic directors at Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State with a proposal.

"I didn't know those guys from Adam," Luck said. "I knew the schools. I told them, 'Your conference may fall apart. You guys look like you might get left behind. Why don't we take all of you and TCU, which was kind of homeless."

Luck's plan, which also had the support of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, was also to add UCF for a 12-team Big East divided into two divisions: West: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, TCU and Louisville; East: UConn, Cincinnati, Rutgers, West Virginia, South Florida and UCF.

"I remember thinking: 'That's not a bad conference,'" Luck said. "And we would have kept the affiliation with the (Big East) basketball schools, because they loved the addition of Kansas. They (the Big 12 schools) also liked it. They were nervous as hell, too. We had a series of phone calls. That was sort of our best option."

It's truly remarkable that after all these close calls, near misses and near settles, U of L wound up in what I think we can all agree is the best possible place for it to be.

July 1 should legitimately be a city-wide holiday. It should involve a parade, a Gorgui Dieng concert and Tom Jurich being fed grapes while sitting on a human throne of lesser athletic directors. Three guesses on who gets to be the base.