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Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 2:43 pm

Officials at Houston and SMU have both been contacted by Big East commissioner John Marinatto and have been told the league wants to discuss with them further about joining the league, sources told

The Houston Chronicle reported Monday night that Houston had been extended an invitation. However, league sources said no official invitations have been extended to any teams. The Big East also released a statement Saturday that no invitations have been extended.

On Tuesday afternoon, Marinatto held a media teleconference, but would not identify specific schools but did admit he's had preliminary discussions with several schools.

Those schools are Boise State, Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston and SMU, sources said.

Marinatto said he's confident the Big East will remain an automatic qualifying BCS conference when the new cycle begins in 2014 and didn't provide a timetable on adding teams to replace TCU, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

"Stay tuned," he said. "We're not rushing ourselves to meet anyone's deadline. The sooner, the better."

Marinatto reiterated that the Big East would not allow Pittsburgh or Syracuse to leave the league early and must honor the 27-month exit agreement. Pitt and Syracuse will remain in the Big East through June 30, 2014, meaning the Big East could have a 14-team football league in 2013 if necessary, Marinatto said.

A college football industry source indicated the fact the ACC has to wait until then is not a big deal to the league. "It just gives the ACC more time to get organized and get their schedules set," the source said.

On Monday night, the Big East’s presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to increase the league’s exit fee to $10 million, but the increased fee is contingent on either Navy or Air Force joining the league as football only members, sources told

Marinatto confirmed the increase in the exit fee, but would not identify the school that would trigger the increased exit fee.

The increased exit fees from $5 million to $10 million for the football schools were something Navy and Air Force wanted before committing to the Big East.

"I don't think anyone will be blindsided or feel bushwhacked when this process is complete," Marinatto said.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are interested to joining the Big East because of the league's automatic qualifying BCS status, but wanted a bigger financial commitment from the remaining members (Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia).

Sources said Houston and SMU – along with UCF – are prepared to accept an invitation to join the Big East as all sports members once an official invitation is extended.

UCF met with Marinatto and other Big East representatives in Cincinnati on Friday. Boise State officials spoke via telephone with the Big East on Thursday.

Marinatto is in the process of scheduling a meeting with Houston and SMU officials in the coming days in New York, sources said.

The Big East wants to get to 12 football teams with the addition of Navy, Air Force and Boise State as football-only members and Houston, SMU and UCF as all-sports members.

However, the Big East still could lose a school if Missouri leaves for the SEC. The New York Times reported Monday night that Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 to the SEC is “inevitable and imminent.” If so, the Big 12 could target either Louisville or West Virginia or even add both teams. BYU also remains an expansion candidate for the Big 12.

Marinatto said the Big East would move quickly in expanding and "is not going to pause" and wait on "the Missouri situation."

Marinatto also said he has not been contacted by any other conferences interested in any Big East schools since TCU left for the Big 12. When the league gets to 12 schools, Marinatto said it's a possibility the Big East could hold its football championship game in New York, similar to the Big East basketball tournament.


Since: Sep 20, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:19 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

ALOT more watch ECU than any of those other teams thats the point.  ECU AQ games outdraw NC State in Charlotte and Raleigh and are right in line with UNC.  Do some research and see for yourself.  The point is, if people don't go to watch the games in person they sure as hell aren't going to watch them on TV.  Market size means nothing if you have no fans.  That is where ECU crushes all of the competition that are in the running for the BE spots.  Mike Leach just said today that ECU would be the first team he would add if he was running the Big East.  Certainly not SMU who are notoriously and forever known as the most dirty program in America or UCF who has a coach on trial for killing one of his players and are under NCAA investigation for agents and recruiting violations.  Houston is a solid choice but after their 6th year senior QB is gone will they be any good?  They were one of the worst programs in the Nation for most of the early 2000's. 

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:16 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Teams west of the Mississippi River have absolutely no business in the Big "East", especially in sports other than football. ACC, please take UConn and get them out of this damn conference. UConn should be playing Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse, not Houston and SMU. Big East basketball teams should not be forced to travel 2000 miles in the middle of winter just to please the football schools (and their RPI's are going to plummet).

Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:14 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Syracuse didn't turn their backs on the Big East.  Syracuse saw that the Big East was being run aground... with West Virginia and Louisville being sought after by the Big XII (and SEC for WVU)... with Rutgers pining away for the Big 10... and so on.  I don't recall Oliver Luck coming out and saying that WVU wouldn't jump to the SEC.  Nor should he.  That's a no brainer for WVU. 

Unlike WVU, Rutgers, and UConn... Syracuse and Pitt had only one option if the Big East implodes... the ACC.  The B1G is not looking for small schools without research or AAU status (Syracuse), nor are they looking to expand within the footprint (Pitt).  Thus, Syracuse and Pitt had to move before they were put in a situation of being left at the altar by everyone else.

Blame the conference as a whole for not insisting on cohesion.

Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:06 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

They're not getting blackballed ... sure, they fill up their stadium, travel pretty well, and their other sports (on average) are OK (especially, baseball).  However, the REALLY big deal right now is TV football ratings.  It's not fair, but it's the way it is.

The bottom line is this:  How many watch a college football game because ECU's playing?  The Greenville, NC media market just isn't that big, and Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill is dominated by UNC and NCSU (Duke fans, no offense - remember I'm talking only about football).

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:03 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

daglafe - I don't think the 27 month exit scares anyone or really matters too much.  If a school really wants to leave they will just negotiate a settlement to leave early.   It's a safe bet that, at the very least, WVU, U Conn, Rutgers, and Louisville are all working on their exit strategies.  I think there is also a serious chance of the conference just collapsing all together.  I can't believe they haven't fired Marinatto already.  The more it drags on the more I think it's better for all concerned to just admit that the thing is dead and move on.  Let the bball schools go their way and the rest can either find new homes or try to make a 12 team all sport conference.  Big East Football is doomed to failure unless they split off.  Otherwise they are just going to get picked apart again when the next round of conference expansion happens. 

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:41 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Why would an ACC team want to go to the SEC
The SEC is a better football conference than the ACC and always will be.  Football is where the money is, basketball doesn't mean anything, just take a look at the Big East if you don't believe me.  The SEC gets a lot more money from TV than the ACC does, don't they?  That's not going to change.  Ok, sure the ACC will negotiate a better deal than they have now, but so will the SEC, and it will be a better deal than the ACC gets.  Do you think loyalty or historic rivalries matter to anyone?  Take a look at Texas A&M, how old where their rivalries in the Big 12?  How about Syracuse?  A founding member of the Big East turning their backs so they can make more money.  What about Pitt?  A 100 year old rivalry with WVU out the window.  Let's not forget Missouri, ready to jump ship so they can cash in.  If the SEC approaches any ACC school to join I promise you they will listen.  They'd be stupid not to.  The only exceptions would be UNC, Duke, and probably UVA.  

Since: Sep 20, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:19 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

It's really sad that ECU is getting ignored as well.  The past 20 years not a single team in the expansion bid has done more with less.  Not a single team mentioned has beat ranked opponents, beat BSU, won back to back conference titles, has increased stadium capacity to 50k and has had the highest rated bowl games in CUSA history.  Yeah these fools are taking tv markets and who gives a crap about tv markets when the teams playing won't even be watched.  UCF can't sell out their games with 2 million people in their city yet ECU has a drawing power of 3 states and 4 hours travel time.  No wonder these idiots are gonna lose their conference they are completely clueless.  And Mr. McMurphy's sources are as made up as Santa Claus. Guess enough and eventually you will be right.

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:10 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

ECU is getting straight up blackballed. Enough said.

Since: Aug 29, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:07 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

Houston and SMU will never be in the Big 12, so long as Deloss Dodds is AD at Texas. I can't believe he took in TCU. Houston and Dallas cut into UT's recruiting. I doubt he is happy about their inclusion into the Big East. Houston and SMU will now have more exposure, especially on the east coast.

Since: Aug 29, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 3:00 pm

Big East talks expansion; contacts UH, SMU

The whole college conferencing format needs to take a mulligan and start over. It's obvious that traditions mean little and the almighty dollar reigns supreme. Deloss Dodds did not take the "big picture" in to focus when he started his latest debacle. 

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