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 13, 2008
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:59 pm

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

Does the Big East wants six more members? They may want to have to look for two more too! Because West Virginia and Louisville have a real good prospect of getting invite too the Big 12! They need the Mountaineers and Cardinals, their traditions and followers!

Since: Oct 10, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:45 pm

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

BE needs to grow a set.  Instead of taking it on the chin, be the aggressor and start talking to some of the big name schools in the confrences that have been stealing from you.  Go after schools in the ACC and Big 10.  These small schools they are talking about will do nothing for the BE.  It wont be easy, but through some money around and the AQ should be inticing.  Florida would be perfect, good basketball program, and there football is down, so the automatic bid could help them now.  Why not go after Florida St as well.  They also need to try and get Penn St back in.  If they can get Penn St, Florida, and maybe Floriday state, then go after ND.  WVU, Florida, FS, ND, and Penn st...not a bad football confrence and still keeps a good basketball confrence.  BE go big or go home!!!

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:34 pm

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

Wow... these posts.  If the Big East goes away, conferences like the ACC have all the choice in the world.  They don't have to take anyone, simply because they are available.  Even if UCONN and Rutgers are out there to be had.  UCONN brings them nothing they dont already have.  Rutgers maybe...the NY/NJ tv market...The SEC would never take USF, they are not sharing tv money with a team that adds no value ....too close to Gainseville.  And if Conference USA doesn't lose anyteams, why would they add any, simply for the sake of adding?  Temple is not part of the Big East anymore, so they remain in a conference they currently dominate.  Remember, just because schools have available teams doesnt mean a conference has to take them.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:28 pm

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

As of now, it doesn't matter who would accept an invite.  The Big East can't make any decisions because they can't reach a consensus, and the "basketball backgroung" of a commissioner Marinato is a weak leader.  They keep waiting to see what everyone else is doing. They arent at all proactive, and they continue to watch their own house burn to the ground.  They would have lost WVU and Louisville by now if there was room in other conferences.  The SEC is the only conference that can afford to wait, and pick and choose who they want.  They ACC was proactive in getting Syracuse and Pitt.  At 14 they can stand pat.  The Big Ten is set at 12, and so is the Pac 12.  That only leaves the Big 12, who with 10 is stable again, even with Missouri fence sitting.  Most of the reasons for them to leave have been solved, so they are in no rush to do anything, unless they get that "right offer."  The SEC didn't have the votes to add them because they thought (and rightfully so) they could do better.  They can cherry pick an ACC school when they are ready.  Which brings us back to the Big 12.  Oklahoma and Texas didnt' like having a championship game, so my bet is they stay at 10.  If Missou leaves, that is only one opening (Lousiville? BYU? Boise?  Another Mountain West school?).  Which means the rest of the Big East schools who are so anxious to find a better gig are mostly going to remain partners, whether they want to or not.  Looking to Conference USA worked before when they needed to expand.  Last years Conference USA champ finished in the top 20, Tulsa was number 24.  No team from the Big East was ranked in the final poll. Currently both conferences have a team ranked (West Virgnia, Houston). And CUSA has four other teams that have received votes this year or currently are.  UCF has won the confence twice in the last four years, and draws better attendance than all but three Big East schools.  So does East Carolina, a past champion that has spent time in the rankings, even though they are experiencing an off year.  The facilities at UCF as well as the financial support in the nations #19 tv market make them a better candidate than most of the schools currently in the Big East.  Houston has a heisman candidate at qb.  SMU just knocked off TCU in an overtime thriller.  There are schools out there that the Big East could add and stabilize their conference immediately, stopping the attrition. They just don't have the ability or the spine to commit to a course of action and make the offers...which is exactly why they are in the soup they are in today.  Invite UCF, ECU, Houston and SMU...the Big East will not only survive, but thrive!

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:20 pm

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

I the Big 12 takes Louisville and WVU, which is not a given, they could stay at 10, and if the Big East takes Temple, Cincinnati would have a possible place in MAC. If all these schools are gone, the ACC would really have no choice but to add UConn and Rutgers. South Florida would probably have to drop to Conference USA baring any SEC move to take them.

Since: Aug 9, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:18 pm

Conference Expansion Overall

Rather than responding to multiple articles on the subject or re-creating my thoughts every time, I find it much more economical to build on some of my original thoughts as this conference expansion process continues.

Big East
As it stands today, the Big East no more deserves a BCS automatic bid, than the Mountain West.  I didn't think they deserved to keep it when VA Tech/Miami/BC left.  Now losing Pitt/’Cuse, not getting TCU, and probably one day, losing UConn, they are left with ONE consistent football program, WVU.   Poor WVU has already been told no thanks from the ACC and the SEC.  

The Big East will survive as a conference with their basketball members, but in football, they will look more like Conference USA than the Big East.  Adding Temple, ECU, UCF, and the Service Academies won’t save their AQ status.  The BCS is probably waiting for the dust to settle and won’t announce removal of their AQ until after the bowl season ends.

Side Note:  I think the Big East was doomed when Penn State joined the Big TEN and didn’t throw in with the other eastern independents.  The Big East wasn’t yet formed, but talks were underway.  You can blame Notre Dame all you want, but had Penn State been in the Big East, Boston College wouldn’t have left, and the overall product and future would have stood the test of time.  


Notre Dame
If ND were to consider giving up independence, it wouldn’t be for such a weakened Big East conference.  If there were going to be only four Super Conferences (ACC, Big TEN, Pac12, SEC), that may have pressured ND to finally join a conference, but with the Big 12 surviving, it actually reduces any such need.


IF the ACC will have to wait until 2014 as reported, there is no hurry to make any further moves.  That being said, the ACC would go to 16, if Notre Dame were to indicate they were interested.  IF the ACC loses a team (See SEC below), UConn is an easy invite for replacement to get back to 14.  Rutgers then may be left on the outside, unless the ACC can attract Notre Dame. Rutgers best chance is an invite with UConn, before the conference loses a team. 


Commentators still don't get it.  The SEC will not be asking Missouri to join.  It isn't only Alabama who is opposed.  Only Arkansas and Auburn have publically announced that they are for the inclusion of Missouri.  It takes nine votes.  Silve won’t bring it to an official vote, without first knowing it would be approved.  No, I am not privy to the inner workings of the SEC, I formulate my opinions on an understanding of politics, motivations, and years of researching the business of college football. 

The SEC will play unbalanced for one or two years if need be.  They will wait until an ACC team contacts them.  Could be Florida State (Only Florida would definitely oppose), could be VA Tech (Virginia politicians may not allow), or NC State.  All can afford the 20m buy-out that they will make back in after two to three years in the SEC.

Missouri stays put for now and the Big 12 adds two more.  I still don't buy Louisville, West Virginia, or Cincinnati.  Yes WVU is the best available football program and that's the only selling point.  TV market?  No.  Academics?  No.  Geography?  No. The interim Big 12 commissioner Neinas has said that geography was an important consideration.  My personal bet is BYU and Houston.  Maybe its wishful thinking, but both have better TV markets than the aforementioned Big East programs and make sense geographically.  There may be some push back to adding another Texas team, and while it has been mentioned, I haven’t seen any official reports on why BYU is no longer considered a viable candidate.           

Side note:  It is unfortunate that Colorado State didn't build upon momentum they had in the (I believe) late 90s. They could have at least been in the conversation to have been invited to the Pac12*, or be considered to put the Big12 back in Colorado.  If I was a CSU Alum I would be furious. 

*If CSU were strong, the then Pac10 may have invited CSU with Colorado, similar to the Arizona/Arizona State invite.   

When the Pac12 stood pat, it took pressure off of Delaney.  Sure they would grow if Notre Dame would join, and then ask Missouri or Rutgers, both of whom would rather be Big TEN members, than go anywhere else.  Maybe one day if the Big TEN gives up on ND, yet again, they invite Missouri/Kansas.  It wouldn't bring much to their football stature, but it would solidify the St Louis and Kansas City markets and keep them competitive with ACC Basketball. 

Who knows what schools out west will rise in stature one day and be considered?  Maybe if the ACC and SEC go to 16 teams, or the Big TEN grows, they will re-open negotiations with Texas which would bring the other three schools back in play.

Side Note:  Utah is fortunate that the first round of sixteen team expansion talks fell through, as Texas A&M and/or Baylor were included in the conversation with UT/TT/OU/OSU.  Utah was not reported as a consideration until the talks with the Big12 group fell through.     


Doesn’t matter what happens to the Big East, the MWC without Utah/BYU/TCU will not gain AQ status.  The BCS may add an at-large, but once they pull the AQ from the Big East, they are under no obligation to give it to another conference.  If anything, pulling the AQ from the Big East, makes it even easier to turn down the MWC.  The addition of an At-Large AQ could help, but will probably be accompanied with removal of the two-team per conference rule.

When the Big12/Big East finish their latest expansion, the best bet is for the MWC to go to 12 so they can at least have a conference championship game.  They also may yet throw in with Conf USA, to conduct a combined championship game to have a winner to promote as an AQ team.  That still won’t motivate the BCS. 

IF they lose Air Force, or Boise State, or neither, I would bet they reconsider their position and invite Utah State**.  Should they lose Boise State, Idaho could see an invite.  Depending on how things shake out in Conference USA, UTEP may apply for membership.

**Utah State was invited and turned it down as they thought BYU may join the WAC.  When it didn’t happen, Utah State was not invited again by the MWC, and Fresno State/Nevada/Hawaii were invited.


Conference USA
Frankly if the Big East loses their AQ, I would almost think it would be better for whatever football teams are left in the Big East, to join Conference USA, instead of the other way around.  I don’t however think the Big East will lose AQ status before the Big East invites ECU and UCF.  If that happens maybe Conf USA adds a SunBelt team or two.  Troy might be high on the list. 

There is still a chance they could lose Houston and/or SMU to the Big12.  One thing is certain, no scenario leaves this conference better off.


Fluid and changing.  The only thing that caught me, and many others off-guard was the Pitt/Syracuse move to the ACC.  I never thought the Pac12 would expand past 12.  I knew the SEC wouldn’t take WVU, and never believed Missouri was a slam dunk, and I still do not think it will happen.  I’ll reiterate that after the bowl season concludes, the BCS will announce pulling the AQ from the Big East, adding an At-Large position, but eliminating the “two-team per conference maximum” rule. 

Personally, I am thankful that at least for a few years the idea of four 16 team conferences isn’t going to happen.  I am a traditionalist.  

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:16 pm

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

As a Big East fan, I didn't really care that the ACC took Miami and Virginia Tech as they were in ACC country. But BC, Pitt and Syracuse really hurt.

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:14 pm

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

They would likely add schools like Xavier, Dayton, St. Joseph's, Saint Louis, La Salle, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Creighton to get to 16 again and be a Catholic basketball superconference.

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:11 pm

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

The service academies would not be in the basketball conference, most likely the C-USA teams wouldn't either. Big East basketball still has 14 pretty strong members.

Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:09 pm

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

West Virgina has been turned down by both the ACC and SEC do to low academics, being ranked 164 in the country for academics.

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