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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: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:22 pm

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

They should go for a "grand slam" and seek a western/eastern division.


So. Miss


Remaining plus UCF

I think that is the best thing they can do if they are set on going to the Rockies.

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:19 pm

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

What part of East is Houston, SMU & Boise St.?  (Join Marquette, DePaul & Cincy, Louisville to a degree)  I still think the league went way off course to recuit other non-football members with those four above and let ND in without football, rather than looking for full athletic members.  What about moving to change the league to become a full athletic conf and kick out the basketball only group?  That would give more longterm stability and BCS relevance.  Now its gotten to survival mode where they scramble to take anyone to stay relevant.  Are there any other east of the mississippi teams worth recruiting to the big east for full membership - rather than just for football?  

Since: Aug 6, 2010
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:09 pm

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

I like the additions but they need to keep UL and WVU.  Not many football schools left in the East though (UConn, Rutgers, WVU (stretching it)).  They will need to rename it, maybe to something like Conference USA...

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:05 pm

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

The Big East doesn't suck, John Marinatto sucks!!!

Where was this 2 years ago when it really, really mattered?  When the Pac10 and Big 10 were raiding the Big 12, why didn't the Big East try??  Why wasn't the Big East expanding, doing everything it could to protect itself 2 years ago when the carousel started???? 

Instead, how could Pitt and SU say no when approached by the ACC?  John Marinatto has done nothing to improve the league the whole time he has been there.  Pitt and SU knows that if they said no, then UConn and Rutgers were going to say 'YES!!"

Its hard for me now to imagine that Rutgers, UConn, Louisville or WVU are going to stay if they get a sniff from any other conference.  Why? Because how can you have faith in a guy that sucks so totally bad as John Marinatto!!  Bringing in Houston and SMU is closing the barn door after the horses have left. 
I cannot believe how bad this whole thing is botched.  I really hope the Big East survives.  Step 1, Send Marinatto the hell out of New York!!

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

It's a house of cards and the big wind will be coming out of the West - not Boise St, or even SMU & Houston - it's that damned LHN Big 12. When Missouri slips into the SEC guess where the Big 12 looks for replacement(s)? If Marinatto somehow pulls this off and keeps the Big east intact, then move over David Copperfield, you have just been outdone.


Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:45 am

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

if the Big East can pull  Boise State, Houston, SMU, BYU and Navy,  I'd start watching Big East Football.
That would make a pretty cool conference.  I do think that SMU, Houston and BYU belong in the Big 12 though.
Geographically, it would lend to better rivals.

Since: Aug 31, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:43 am

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

I think Boise is careful because they don't want to sign up and then have a whole bunch of teams jump ship like happened to them in the MWC move.

I would love to see WVU stay and Boise and the others go to the Big East. 

Since: Mar 8, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:19 am

Big East contacts Houston, SMU

Looks like a good deal to me for Big East football if they can pull it off...

Add Houston with a current BCS Ranking of 19
Add SMU with a current BCS Ranking of 29

Drop Syracuse with a current BCS Ranking of 47
Drop Pittsburgh with a current BCS Ranking of 69

And this is before taking Boise State (with a current BCS Ranking of 5) into consideration, if in fact they decide to join.

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