Central Florida Thinks South Florida Is Trying to Block Its Path to Big East
UCF thinks so.
A UCF spokesperson told The Orlando Sentinel that appears to be the case. However, a USF spokesperson told FanHouse Wednesday Genshaft will "vote for the best interests of the Big East, not any university."
With the Big East announcing last year its plans to expand, UCF has been rumored, speculated and reported as one of the league's top expansion candidates. TCU recently accepted an offer to join the Big East beginning in 2012 and Villanova, already a league member in all sports but football, will decide by April if it will accept an invitation to move its football program from FCS to the Big East.
USF ended its four-game football series with UCF in 2008 in part because the Bulls, including athletic director Doug Woolard and former football coach Jim Leavitt, felt they ultimately had nothing to gain playing the Knights, who are located 90 miles from Tampa.
UCF spokesperson Grant Heston said he believes USF is trying to keep UCF, members of Conference USA, from joining the Big East.
"We have been hearing this, too," Heston wrote in an e-mail to the Sentinel. "We hope it's not true, because our joining the Big East would clearly be a win-win for both universities."
Through a spokesperson, Genshaft would not address UCF -- or any other university specifically -- but stressed she would do what's in the Big East's best interests.
"Judy has always been clear that she doesn't discuss Big East board votes in advance and in public -- and the Big East insists that its commissioner (John Marinatto) is the only spokesperson," USF vice president of communications Michael Hoad wrote in an e-mail to FanHouse. "There's no reason for her to announce support or opposition to any school in advance of meetings.
"Bottom line: USF itself has no 'position' on Big East expansion. When there's a decision, she'll vote just like everyone else. However, she is clear that she'll vote for the best interests of the Big East, not for any university."
Last year, new USF coach Skip Holtz had a similar philosophy.
"I want what's best for the league," Holtz told FanHouse. "Does West Virginia want Marshall in? No. But would they stop them from joining? No. I want what's in the best interest for the Big East.
"I'm all for strengthening the Big East. Whatever teams can do that, I'm all for that."
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at email@example.com and please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY