NEW YORK — With seven Catholic schools leaving the Big East, including league stalwarts Georgetown and Villanova, the conference is looking to add seven Muslim Madrasas. The departing schools will take with them a long history of storied rivalries, and league commissioner Mike Aresco believes that the new Muslim flavor of the conference will help drum up interest and give them the upper hand as it negotiates a television deal.
“College athletics are driven by impassioned fans, we hope replacing Catholicism with Islam will be a marketing bonanza.” Aresco said, before adding, “Crescent vs. Cross, Muhammad vs. Jesus, these are the types of must see clashes that ESPN will drool over.”
The league hopes that controversy will make up for quality and that the Big East will be able to retain its spot as a “power conference.” In order to underscore the conference’s new anti-Christian identity, remaining Big East members Connecticut and Central Florida are looking into changing their monikers to the Dead Crusaders and Holy Warriors.
The seven Madrasas are headlined by Darul Uloom, which is located in New York. The Darul Uloom headmaster Sude Jendal had this to say about his school’s move: “While we are excited about the level of athletic excellence prevalent in the Big East, this holy war rhetoric is a little disturbing. We want to compete, not get into a theological debate.”
It seems like Uloom’s worries are falling on deaf ears. The conference is set to vote on changing the league’s emblem to a picture of Saladin riding a steed.