The addition of Tulsa to the Big East "is a matter of when, not if," a league source told CBSSports.com College Football Columnist Dennis Dodd.
"That's the direction we're headed," said a different league source, who added the league has not notified all of its membership officials via teleconference or email.
ESPN reported Tuesday that a membership vote will likely happen by next week. Asked the special attraction of adding Tulsa, Dodd's source said it was to get to 12 teams so the league could stage a conference championship game.
The title game would mean additional revenue, but the yearly pot would be split 12 ways instead of 11, at least in theory.
Membership strongly supports the addition of Tulsa as a 12th member, a small private school with a strong football porftolio coming off a Conference-USA title.
Once the Big East extends an invitation, Tulsa would present it to its board of directors for approval. C-USA schools make roughly $1 million per year in television revenue, so a move to the Big East -- which signed a seven-year deal with ESPN worth a projected $20 million annually to be spread among members -- seems logical.
The league has a 10-team lineup for 2013 and 2014, when East Carolina and Tulane replace Louisville and Rutgers. Navy is committed as a football-only member in 2015. Tulsa, a small private school coming off a Conference USA title, makes 12.
The Big East's contract with ESPN likely includes provisions to accommodate the league's expansion or reduction based on the future ripple effects of conference realignment.
The old Big East is also is in the process of rebranding after losing the "Big East" namesake to the Catholic 7 basketball schools in the recent breakup.