Tag:Conference Realignment Update
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:56 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:05 pm
 

Necessity, flexibility lead Navy to the Big East



Posted by Chip Patterson


The Big East welcomed Navy to the growing group of newcomers for football on Tuesday, announcing the school's intentions of joining the league for the 2015 season.

Navy will begin Big East conference play two years after the addition of San Diego State, Boise State, SMU, Houston, and UCF - but still after the official exit of Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia. After more than 100 years of independence, Navy football will take on an official conference affiliation.

“The Naval Academy is pleased to accept the invitation for our football team to join the Big East Conference,” said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael Miller, USN. “After careful consideration, we believe this affiliation to be in the best interests of the Naval Academy, our athletic programs and the Brigade of Midshipmen. While our independent status has served Navy football well to date, Big East conference affiliation will help ensure our future scholar-athletes and athletic programs remain competitive at the highest levels for the foreseeable future.”

A recurring theme from the Navy administration, and even head coach Ken Niumatalolo, was the idea that conference affiliation was the safest way to ensure a program's survival in these rapidly changing times. The administration mentioned the difficulties of scheduling opponents for the future, as schools begin to hold more dates open for conference play. The bowl affiliations, and television packages were mentioned as driving factors in college football becoming more conference-centric.

Searching for a permanent home, the Academy looked to the Big East - advancing a decade-long conversation regarding possible membership. One of the aspects that made the league attractive to Navy was the Big East's willingness to accommodate the traditional rivalries with Army, Air Force, and Notre Dame in the conference schedule.  In addition to holding those three rivalries, the conference was willing to accomodate Navy's interests in hosting all home games on Saturdays - something of concern with the school's proximity to Washington, D.C..

With eight conference games, Navy's non-conference schedule will likely only leave room for one rotating opponent in order to maintain the Commander-in-Chief rivalry and the annual contest with Notre Dame. However if there is a change of heart at Air Force regarding Big East membership, Navy would only have two protected non-conference rivalries to schedule around.

Whether Air Force becomes the Big East's next target is yet to be seen, but one thing is clear: there will be more announcements coming from the conference regarding expansion.

"Please know our membership has worked hard to get to where we are today, but also know we are not done yet," commissioner John Marinatto said. "We feel we can get stronger, and will continue pursue interests from additional top-notch institutions to further enhance our competetiveness in both football and basketball."

If the Big East has 12 teams in competition for the 2015 season and a conference championship game, it would present a potentially unique situation for the Midshipmen.  Navy could win their division in 2015, then play the Big East championship game a week before their scheduled meeting with Army to close the regular season.    

For much more on Navy's move to the Big East, check out Brett McMurphy's blog and our Conference Realignment home page.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Big East Presidents approve, extend invitations

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Tuesday, the Big East held their annual meeting of the school Presidents in Philadelphia. As expected, commissioner John Marinatto used the gathering as an opportunity to get the official votes from league members regarding the specific plan for conference expansion. After the meeting, Marinatto provided a veiled update on the league's plan and timetable regarding expansion and the exit process for West Virginia.

“Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference," Marinatto explained in his official statement.  "I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for.

“In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave. The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations.”

There are not too many surprises in this update, including the clarification that both football-only and all-sports invitations will be extended. Navy, Air Force, and Boise State are expected to be among the football-only invitations, while Conference USA schools UCF, Houston, and SMU have been awaiting official invitations to join in all sports since the 12-team football expansion plans began taking shape.

The real development in the statement is the league's plan to hold West Virginia to the 27-month withdrawal period. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy detailed West Virginia's lawsuit against the Big East hoping for an exit in time to compete in the Big 12 for the 2012-2013 academic year. In the Big 12's teleconference, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck explained that "our team is working with their team" to make it happen. Marinatto's statement on Tuesday suggests that this may be a more difficult process than the Mountaineers originally imagined.

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