Posted by Chip Patterson
South Florida president Judy Grenshaft was speaking to Florida legislators on Tuesday when she was questioned directly about the school's reported "blocking" of UCF as a new member for the Big East. Grenshaft began vehemently denying the reports, and offered her own update on the league's "aggressive" efforts to replace Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
"I am not stopping any university from coming in," Grenshaft explained. "What is happening is the league, or the conference, now is looking at schools and they have looked very much at schools that are not in any of the states that are represented by the Big East schools right now. The ones that they're looking at right now, they do not sit in any state that the Big East schools are currently in."
What it appears Grenshaft is trying to say, is that the conference is focused on expanding their footprint beyond the current reach. Or maybe she's trying to say there is a gentleman/gentlewoman agreement amongst the university leaders to not add a school from a state currently occupied by a conference members, similar to the SEC.
Whatever she was trying to say, she didn't do a very good job of conveying the message clearly.
However if the conference is looking at schools that are not currently in a Big East-occupied state, it would fall right in line with the report from CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy that Navy and Air Force were close to joining before the recent ACC exodus. It is still believed that the two service academies would be first choices for the Big East's football expansion, and there is currently no Big East team in Maryland or Colorado.
If her statements regarding the potential candidates for Big East expansion are true, it would rule out UCF. It would also rule out Houston if she's counting TCU as part of the Big East footprint, and it would rule out Villanova and/or Temple if she's counting Pittsburgh as a "current" member. Such a stipulation would be good news for a school like East Carolina, who recently applied for membership and has been reaching out to local leaders for help their cause.
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