Blog Entry

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 12:51 pm
Big East presidents and chancellors Monday authorized Big East commissioner John Marinatto “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

Now the question is: what schools will make up those 12?

With TCU gone before it even got here and Pittsburgh and Syracuse headed to the ACC in 2014 (and they hope even earlier than that), that leaves six football members – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia.

For now.

That number could reduce further if Missouri goes to the SEC. Louisville and West Virginia is considered the strongest candidates for the Big 12 now that BYU apparently is no longer as highly regarded by the Big 12.

Navy, Air Force and Army remain the prime targets of the Big East as football only members. However, with the news that the Big East is pursuing 12 football schools, if the league went to a nine-game league schedule, that actually might not be an attractive option for the academies having only three non-conference games.

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league remains an option.

Other Big East targets are Temple, of the Mid-American Conference, and a number of Conference USA schools headed by Central Florida and East Carolina.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday that Boise State was a possibility as a football-only member. Last month in a Big East presidents meeting, the Broncos were brought up as an expansion candidate, but the consensus was the school was too far away and there were concerns with their recent NCAA issues, a source said.

However, that was before TCU announced it received a Big 12 invitation, which the Horned Frogs will formally accept Monday night. Does that mean the Big East is warming to Boise State - or that desparate for members?

As far as any problems in having a 12-team football conference and a resulting basketball membership of up to 20 schools, a league source told me the size of the basketball membership is not a concern.

“You can have 50 teams in basketball (in the conference),” the source said. “It doesn't matter. That's why they have the NCAA tournament.”

The reality for the Big East is, other than continuing to pursue the academies, it must wait to see what happens with Missouri and the Big 12/SEC and the resulting dominos before proceeding further.

During Monday’s teleconference, the presidents were “still discussing appropriate figures” for increased withdrawal fees, an individual on the call told

The withdrawal fee is currently $5 million and a school must provide 27 months notice.

Last month Marinatto told that the league will not allow Syracuse and Pitt to leave before their 27-month withdrawal requirement expires, keeping them in Big East until June 30, 2014.

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say. This stuff is moving fast.”

Air Force has to decide whether to remain in a comfortable situation in the Mountain West or leave for an uncertain future in the Big East, once an automatic qualifying BCS league that may or may not still be an AQ BCS conference when the new BCS cycle begins before the 2014 season.

Even with the league holding a second conference call in four days among officials from representative from the remaining Big East schools, there wasn’t much accomplished said one frustrated individual on the call.

“Nothing accomplished,” he said.


Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:00 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Just imagine. Big East #1 vs. Sun Belt #1 in the Skittles "No One Gives A Damn" Bowl. You can kiss that BCS bowl bid bye-bye.

Since: Jul 6, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:52 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Will the Big East change their name to Conforence USA II? If they add Memphis, East Carolina, and Central Florida with the two teams, Louisville and Cincinnati, they are becoming Conference USA II. How does these additions make them them a BCS conference? The Military Academies bring nothing to the league either, good football history, nothing else. None of these schools are bringing a history of winning and strong out of league winning.  

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:51 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

but the usa and mac already big conferences who have not stated that they would like to expand.  so unless big 12 would take them, i dont see any easy fit for wvu, cincy, UL outside the big east.

Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:44 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Why force this? The basketball schools should get together and form a new conference. Add some schools like Butler, Xavier and/or Dayton and have a strong basketball only conference. The 6 football schools can find landing spots in the C-USA, MAC, or big 12.

Since: Sep 26, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:38 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

The Big East is bad right now with their current 8 football schools....just imagine how bad it's going to be with Central Florida, Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines and the Coast Guard added?

Since: Oct 10, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:38 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Any word that schools have been extended offers (whether "official" or not) but are declining those offers for the time being?  The Big East is in a real pickle right now.  While some schools (ECU) seem desperate to join and would jump at any offer, others surely must be wondering whether going to the Big East is out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Without a firm commitment from the existing 6 schools, what incetive do the academies, UCF, Houston, SMU, Boise, etc. have to make the move.  And without a viable coference, why would the remaining 6 make any kind of commitment to the Big East?  Seems like an impossible situation.

Since: Aug 16, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:32 pm

Big East should drop football

Even if they are able to recruit enough teams to get to 12 football-playing schools, the Big East has no hope or retaining their automatic bid in the BCS.  Once they grasp this fact, the Big East will come to the realization that they should disband as a football conference and release those schools from their commitment to the Big East.  Those schools would then be free to go fill out the vacancies in the Big 12, SEC, and ACC.  Then the Big East could focus on what they really do best - academics and basketball.

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:32 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Why wait to see what happens in the Big 12? If they do that the Big East will just fall further behind. They need to extend bids to Boise State, Air Force, and Navy for football only NOW. The sooner they can get things worked out with those schools the better. I would target SMU and Houston as well at this point (for all sports membership). Also, why not extend a big to BYU? The worst that could happen is that they get turned down. The addition of those six schools should gaurantee that the Big East keep their autobid (especially Boise State).

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:30 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

It's never good to "cut off your nose to spite your face".  I understand what you mean about Temple, but things have changed for the better with Temple's program due to Al Golden's great leadership there in football, and they should be in the BIG EAST.  Every emotion known to man comes out in a sporting event.  I'm sure after all the dust settles, and should the BE go to 12 football schools(which would be super), it would be in the BIG EAST interest to say goodbye to Pitt & Syracuse as quickly as possible, and let them pay the millions in exit fees.

Since: Dec 16, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

In whose atlas are schools located in Colorado and Idaho a natural fit for a conference whose name is the "Big East"?

The Not-So-Big East should just be stripped of its automatic BCS berth. (That's another joke in itself, but we won't go there now.) It's never been on the same level as the SEC and the Big Ten, or even the ACC. Not even close.

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