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Navy prepared to join Big East, just not for a while

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider

Navy is comfortable with the direction the Big East is going and is poised to join the conference. (US Presswire)  
Navy is comfortable with the direction the Big East is going and is poised to join the conference. (US Presswire)  

Having defeated Army for a 10th consecutive season on Saturday, Navy can now turn its full attention to its next goal: joining the Big East Conference.

The Midshipmen are preparing to join the Big East as a football-only member, but likely won't do so in 2013, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com.

Gladchuk said ultimately Navy's Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller, will make the decision on whether Navy joins the Big East. However, Gladchuk admitted "everyone in Navy's chain of command is comfortable [with the Big East] and the direction it's going."

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How quickly Navy joins the Big East will depend mainly on how long it takes the Midshipmen to restructure their future schedules, bowl and television contracts. Navy has games scheduled through 2018, bowl contracts through 2017 and television contracts with CBS College Sports and CBS Sports (Army-Navy game) through 2018, Gladchuk said.

Gladchuk said Navy doesn't have any demands, but needs the support of the Big East whether it's financially or league members helping by picking up some of Navy's future opponents.

"We're breaking away from a lifelong commitment as an independent and we have a better television deal than a lot of conferences," Gladchuk said. "We can't do that without a mutual understanding with the Big East. The good news is [Big East commissioner] John [Marinatto] has been receptive of talking this through."

Gladchuk said Navy and the Big East were in the process of "getting into those details" when West Virginia announced it was leaving the league. All of that was put on hold until last week when the Big East announced the addition of its five new members.

Last Wednesday, the Big East officially announced the addition of Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and SMU, UCF and Houston as all-sports members. Those schools will help offset the future departures of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Gladchuk said he expects to meet with Marinatto this week or next week. "What's the hurry?" Gladchuk said. "We've been discussing the issues 'forever.' We'll get it done. We'll get together. Our No. 1 question was stability and as of last Wednesday, guess what? There's stability in the Big East."

While the Big East has become more stable, there still remains questions that could affect the league's attractiveness and worth -- namely if there will be BCS automatic qualifying conferences in 2014.

"That's something certainly we've discussed at great length," Gladchuk said. "Our football coach [Ken Niumatalolo] understands that dynamic. That does matter, but it's all speculation right now."

Gladchuk also said that Air Force's decision to remain in the Mountain West and not join the Big East has absolutely no impact on Navy. "The thinking from Colorado Springs is fully removed from Annapolis -- there are no tentacles attached," Gladchuk said. "We'll make our decision based on what's best for us."

Being part of a league that plays on the East and West coasts and features several schools in the nation's top 25 television markets could be a huge boost to Navy's recruiting against other military academies.

Gladchuk said by Navy playing an eight-game Big East schedule it would likely leave the Midshipmen with only one unknown opponent (with three of their four non-conference opponents consisting of Army, Air Force and Notre Dame).

Also, if Navy plays in any future Big East championship games (on the first weekend in December), the Midshipmen would then have to play Army the following week unless the game is moved from the second Saturday in December.

Despite all of these moving parts, Gladchuk is confident Navy and the Big East will work everything out.

"We're bringing some sizzle to the steak," Gladchuk said. "That's why we're excited about the possibility of the Big East and the Big East is excited about us. We [Navy and the Big East] would both like to get to the goal line."

The only question is when?


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