Did Judy Genshaft lie to Jack Latvala?

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Did USF president Judy Genshaft lie to Jack Latvala about her desire to keep UCF out of the Big East?

If you read a report by CBSSports.com writer Brett McMurphy, who used to cover USF for the Tampa Tribune and has been the reporter of record for the Big East realignment, you would be hardpressed to think otherwise, observes Orlando Sentinel sportswriter Mike Bianchi.

On Monday, (John) Marinatto resigned as the Big East’s commissioner. I don’t have the exact figures, but I’d guess about 99 percent of the college sports fans on Twitter wondered why Marinatto hadn’t been fired months earlier. And that’s sad. Because Marinatto is not solely to blame for the Big East losing four schools since he became commissioner. The league’s presidents are the ones that bumbled and stumbled so that their league became more of a punch line than a BCS conference. The same Big East presidents that make up the league’s board of directors that asked Marinatto to resign on Sunday. …

With conference realignment sweeping the country, Marinatto still was able to convince TCU in November of 2010 to join the Big East, to help bolster an inconsistent football league. People mocked a Texas team joining the Big East, but it gave the league a solid football addition. That would have given the Big East nine football members in 2012. There was even speculation the Big East might be able to attract an ACC school to join the Big East, which was in the midst of negotiating a huge upcoming media rights deal.

“At that point when the Big East was intact, the only school the Big East could have legitimately added that made sense was UCF,” an industry source said. “Maryland and Boston College? They wouldn’t even return the Big East’s calls. But the Big East couldn’t add UCF because [South Florida president] Judy Genshaft kept shooting down UCF.”

Genshaft’s continuing insistence to block UCF from the league was a huge contributing factor which ultimately led to the league’s current instability, a league source said. That’s because in April of 2011, with TCU on board, Marinatto and the league negotiated a nine-year deal worth $1.4 billion for its new media rights deal. Marinatto recommended to his presidents that they accept the offer and they promptly voted against it.

If McMurphy’s sources are to be believed, Genshaft could be in hot water with Latvala, who asked Genshaft about the veracity of an earlier Bianchi column that urged Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature to get involved an investigate whether one state-funded institution (USF) is blocking another taxpayer-funded institution (UCF) from gaining access to millions and millions of BCS dollars every year.

“Those statements that are out in the press are not true. That is not the case,” Genshaft said to the Tampa Bay Times. “I am not stopping any university from coming in. … I have not done anything to hurt anybody.”

McMurphy’s reporting suggests otherwise.

Be sure to read the rest of Bianchi’s post about this topic here, including his challenge to Genshaft to swear under oath that what has been reported isn’t true.

Also check out the Twitter feed of Chris Latvala, Sen, Latvala’s son (and a friend of SP’blog) who tweets this reminder: @ChrisLatvala: A fellow that “misrepresented the facts” to the old man #USF…How not to lobby, Pt. 2 http://bit.ly/IS0Vfx

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.