Boise State, Air Force and UCF have indicated they are receptive to joining the Big East. Navy is prepared to also commit once a higher exit fee has been established, sources said. The official invitations to UCF, Boise State, Air Force and Navy could be extended as early as next week.
Big East representatives, including Commissioner John Marinatto, met with UCF officials Friday in Cincinnati. On Thursday, Boise State and a Big East representative spoke via telephone about the Broncos joining the Big East.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky confirmed Friday that Boise State, Air Force and UCF have had contact with the Big East.
On Sunday or Monday the Big East's presidents and chancellors are expected to vote and approve an increased exit fee of at least $10 million for football members. That’s double the current amount ($5 million), but less than what Marinatto proposed in an Oct. 2 meeting. In that meeting there were discussions to increase the exit fee to “150 percent of the gross revenues received by a departing team in its final year in the league,” according to league documents obtained by CBSSports.com.
That figure would have been between $12 million and $15 million.
The addition of Boise State would be significant in helping the Big East retain its status as an automatic qualifying BCS league when the new BCS cycle begins in 2014.The Broncos, ranked No. 5 in this week's AP poll, are among college football's winningest programs, with a 71-5 record since 2006.
"I believe Boise and Air Force are gone [to the Big East]," a source familiar with the Mountain West told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd.
With the expected addition of Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF and the defections of TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, that would leave the football membership at 10 schools, two shy of the 12 members the league said on Monday it was seeking.
Houston, SMU and Temple are being considered for the final two spots. However, one source said Houston and SMU are expected to get the final two spots because of Villanova’s concerns about adding Temple into the league.Boise State, Air Force and Navy would join as football-only members. UCF, Houston and SMU would join as full members. Thompson, of the Mountain West, said that Boise State and Air Force would not be allowed to keep its non-football schools in the Mountain West if they left for the Big East.
The Mountain West source also told CBSSports.com that the addition of Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF are, in terms of market, TV and football value, would be at least even with Syracuse, Pittsburgh and TCU.
A BCS source said the Big East has been given no sign from BCS officials that adding those teams would help it keep its automatic bid.