UCF Athletics Director Keith Tribble has a message for Knights fans worried about the program’s push to land in an automatic-qualifier conference: Just because UCF isn’t publicly pushing for such a move, there are still plenty of negotiations going on behind the scenes.
Tribble and UCF President John Hitt have been in discussions with key players from the Big East and Big 12 about expansion possibilities. They have also kept abreast of Conference USA’s preliminary talks with the Mountain West about a potential merger that could earn the mega-conference an automatic bid into the BCS bowl games.
Whereas fellow C-USA members East Carolina and SMU have made public claims about it desires to land in another conference, UCF has chosen not to pursue that path. Tribble said such a move would be bad form and he’s chosen to keep abreast of the conference realignment negotiations quietly.
“If they know anything about the history of Dr. Hitt and what he’s done with our university, he’s always put UCF first and we’re following that same method in terms of how we’re doing our business,” Tribble said. “We’re doing our work and we’ll continue to do it in a way that’s fitting of our institution. We’re people of integrity and we do things the right way. So those who think there aren’t things happening or conversations taking place they would be wrong.”
Tribble admitted that all of the discussions, talk and speculation over which teams will end up where can be a bit consuming at times. He said that fans should know that UCF’s many great traits are being pushed to the appropriate people.
“It’s consuming for all of the ADs right now because it’s something that came out of the blue. No one was expecting the move by the ACC and once that started the conversations with the Big 12 and the Big East, the whole snowball effect to form. But the bottom line is no one knows what’s going to happen,” Tribble said. “Something might happen and something might not happen, but you’ve always got to be mindful of what’s happening. We have to have conversations with my counterparts and other conference commissioners and get a sense of what’s happening. Not that they will tell you, but at least we have to have those conversations. I spend a lot of time doing that, but it doesn’t spend 100 percent of my time.”