Just playing Devil's advocate, but they could play at PPL Park
The head of the Philadelphia Union Soccer Club stated he accepted a call from Villanova last week to set up a preliminary meeting for a discussion about PPL Park down in Chester, PA. He was mildly pessimistic about it.
Besides the obvious logistic obstacle of trying to get a non-existent fan base to drive down to Chester, PA (It was the AIDS capitol of the U.S. at one point with all of it's drugs & violent crime.) to see Villanova Football, you have the issue that it is only a 18,500 Soccer field. The head of the Philly Union said Soccer schedule plays the last third of their schedule in the Fall and they FORBID any footbal markings to be on their turf during the season and that is non-negotiable. So unless someone has some evaporating or invisible line marking substance to put on that Soccer field, there won't be any endzone lines or yard lines on the field for possible football games played there.
I know we once did that in Biddy Football and the Big East is basically the same caliber (lol) How cool is that to play football on a totally green field with a couple of those plastic folded yarded marker things on the sidelines and absolutely no lines on the field?
That could add a nice catchy new motto for the Conference. BIG EAST FOOTBALL...we play anywhere!!
...but on the other hand, the basketball team sells out a 20,000 person arena five times a year.
They do extremely well at Wells Fargo (fka Wachovia) Center games but they don't sell all those games out. Many of games draw in the 14k to 17k range which is outstanding but it often depends on Villanova's team that year and obviously Coach Wright has them winning and ranked more consistently now then when the decade started. Georgetown, Notre Dame, Syracuse & Pitt bring the best basketball crowds for those games including some sell-outs. Sometimes WVU & Marquette depending on whether they are ranked that year or not. Notre Dame vs Villanova games have often drawn a bigger ND crowd from that huge Catholic audience surrounding Philadelphia.
Where do the rest of the crowds come from? Well if you can find a Penn State basketball fan anywhere, let me know. You ask most Penn State alumni from Philly to Scranton where they go in the fall and it's heading west to Happy Valley to see JoePa, but when it comes to basketball, they love their Big 5 Basketball..especially Nova. The Wildcats have a solid following among the Catholics as well as just regular college basketball fans in Eastern PA. I can easily scalp my basketball tickets to people in the Lehigh Valley anytime I want.
Despite all the whining about the death of the current Big East, the League is practically walking dead already and that is why the other football members don't care whether this proposition for Nova upgrading football makes sense or not for Villanova community. Even the BE Commisioner admitted publicly that Villanova was NOT the best candidate but they were entitled to get an invitation because of their Big East membership in all other sports.
I've heard rumors that the Big East is willing to heavily subsidize Villanova's transition to 1A.
I've heard reality that any financial scam like that might get several AD's & University Presidents publicly burned at the stake when the 7 State Universities with Big East Football teams start giving their taxpayer dollars to another university..a small private Catholic school. I am sure the Big East Football schools would lend support in scheduling several games thru the "provisional period" to help an upgrading program and there are other corners that can be cut along the way with League support, but they aren't sending an envelope of cash to Villanova to get this done.
This is one of those populist ideas where everyone says...Hey, wouldn't it be great to have Villanova playing Notre Dame every year and then seeing Villanova play in a Bowl game vs some big name football school. Hell yeah, but it's unrealistic and is potentially damaging to the University to chase down such wind mills like Don Quixote.