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Syracuse Refusing To Participate In Big East/SEC Challenge

Even during the so-called “dead period” for major college sports, the divorce process between Syracuse and the Big East just keeps getting uglier.

When the schedule for the 2012 Big East/SEC Challenge was released Friday morning, not much was made over the fact that SU was paired with Arkansas. Now, however, it appears as if the Orange are unwilling to take part in the event at all.

Meaning to send an email to Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross accidentally hit “reply all” and sent the following email (obtained by ESPN) to a large group of Big East coaches, athletic directors, league administrators and sports information directors earlier this week.

OJ this is premature as we are over committed and can’t play at this point.

I wish we could have agreement as you have put us all in what could be an embarrassing situation

We are not confirmed. I find it amazing that there is no discussion to make a better plan. We have been collegial with the Big East yet it appears that there is no willingness to cooperate. Daryl

The Big East is also catching some heat from Pittsburgh, the other schol leaving the conference for the ACC, for not being selected to participate in the event.

“We were led to believe we had a home game all along,” Pederson said. “At no point were we told that we wouldn’t get a home game. They’ve put us in a difficult spot. All Jamie and I were waiting on was who we were playing. We’re very disappointed, obviously.”

Gavitt said calling a personal friend in Dixon to tell him the news was one of the hardest calls he has had to make during his tenure in the league.

“We went on the road last year, and there was a clear assumption that if we went on the road that we would get a return,” Pederson said. “I feel bad for our players. We have a hole on our schedule that we have to fill now.”

With this drama, Connecticut being ineligible for postseason play and the ever-present realignment madness, it’s shaping up to be an awfully interesting season for what had been college basketball’s dominant conference.