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Big East Expansion: Villanova's President Needs To Attend A Brian Tracy Seminar

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Quick tangent.

My first job out of Syracuse was for a dot com start-up called Don't bother checking out the site, it's long-gone (whatever is there now is something different). Went out of business officially some time around 2002. But when I got there in May of 2000, it was everything you've ever heard about the dot com world.

Situated in a converted warehouse above the Chelsea Market, the wide-open space featured gaming tables, people in shorts and the loosest corporate atmosphere I could have imagined. At least twice a week, the entire office would cease working at 3:30 and everyone would log on to Counterstrike and we'd commence murdering one another. After the School of Management put the Fear of God into me that I was destined for a career of corporate, suit and tie life for the next forty years, it was a breathe of fresh air. At least until you walked outside and it smelled like garbage, piss and old meat. Ah, New York City.

Anyway, was a Tony Robbins' company. You know Tony Robbins, the abnormally tall guy who smiles all the time and wants to make you a better person. It wasn't my cup of tea, per se, but as many of you college seniors will soon learn, when you're 22, a job's a job. The point of the site was to offer classes that folks could take online to better their lives. Everything from how to meditate to how to do your taxes. Not a terrible idea, just way ahead of the point where people wanted to pay money on the Internet for those kinds of things.

Robbins' bread and butter remained in (and likely still does) his seminars. I got to attend one as part of my job and, if you've never been to one...holy crap. It was held at Continental Airlines Arena at the "Old" Meadowlands. I remember thinking the place would be about half full and that would be impressive.

No, no, no.

The place was almost sold out. This arena, which was lucky at the time to get half-full for Nets game, was jam-packed with folks on hand to see Tony Robbins and folks like General Norman Schwarzkopf and Barbara Walters talk about...stuff. Oh, and give each other shoulder rubs. I remember that specificially. Lots of shoulder rubs for everyone around you.

This is also when I first heard about Brian Tracy. I knew every speaker that day except him. Turns out, he's a pretty big deal in the world of sales techniques (if that qualifies as a "world"). His company is called Brian Tracy International. International, you guys. So you know it's big.

Anyway, I listened to him tell everyone that they will be better salespeople if they buy his cassettes and then I watched thousands of people walk out into the hallways en masse and purchase said cassettes. I can only assume they all became better salespeople because Brian Tracy is still talking to people and those people are still buying cassettes. Well, probably CDs at this point.

Anyway, the point is, someone should buy Villanova's president, Rev. Peter Donahue, some Brian Tracy CDs. Cause the bro needs some sales pointers.

According to one person in the room that day, the presentation didn't go well, for a very specific reason. Villanova's president, the Rev. Peter Donahue, gave more an explanation of where things stood than a sales pitch. If he wasn't going to be a real advocate, it was natural for his brethren to wonder where the former drama professor really stood. Were they supposed to get excited about 'Nova joining them if 'Nova's president couldn't?

Reverend, you don't ask John Marinatto what he wants, you tell him what he NEEDS! Boom, sales, son!

As The Nova Blog points out, it's not all Pete's fault. He thought he was presenting on one thing instead of another.

Essentially, the Big East switched their view on Villanova from "we really want you" to "show us why we should take you." But from all accounts, this was never made clear to Villanova. So they entered that March meeting with more of a "here's how we're going to make it happen" approach when they should have been really trying to sell themselves to the Big East - and not just from a stadium perspective, but also showing the conference how excited they were to join.

And so, the new new date for The Villanova Decision is June 1st. Whether or not Villanova can get the stadium deal rectified AND work on their PowerPoint presentation in time, remains to be seen.

My advice, Nova. Pie charts. Lots and lots of pie charts (BOOM...SALES!).

Meanwhile, in a slightly unrelated yet related note, remember UMass? Those rapscallions from Amhearst who were like, "We want to join the Big East" and the Big East was like, "Cool story, bro, but no." Well, they're moving on to Plan B. They're joining the MAC. The deal apparently makes the Minutemen football members-only. The move also apparently might affect Temple, who may or may not be receiving overtures from Conference USA.

Not sure how that affects the Big East (or the Big East affects it) but it's worth keeping an eye on.