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Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:50 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 10:51 pm
 

SDSU in no hurry w/Big East, BYU no Big 12 offer

San Diego State and the Big East began discussions last week about the Aztecs joining the league as a football-only member, but don’t expect the Aztecs to make a decision anytime soon.

Meanwhile BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said Monday night the Cougars never had an invitation to the Big 12 and the school  is “at an impasse (with the Big East) and not able to move any further.”

College football industry sources said San Diego State officials informed the Big East it will need some time before determining whether to join the league as a football-only member.

“They might not be in a hurry,” a source said.

The Big East is looking at San Diego State as a football-only member after the Big East decided to “move on” from negotiations with the Cougars after BYU wanted to retain its television rights for its home football games.

Sources said San Diego State “is still very excited about the opportunity” to join the Big East, but estimated it could take anywhere from “two to three weeks” to “a few months.”

The Big East is pursuing the Aztecs because Boise State has said it wants a guarantee of a Western partner before joining the league.

UCF, Houston and SMU are prepared to join the league but want to join in a group with Boise State. So those three schools are waiting on Boise State while the Broncos are waiting on a Western partner – either San Diego State or Air Force – and Navy is waiting until those other schools join before it commits.

BYU began discussions with the Big East after the Big 12 “decided to go in a different direction,” Holmoe said Monday night on BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall’s radio show.

“At this time things have slowed down (with the Big East),” Holmoe said. “I think it’s apparent.”

Holmoe said BYU and the Big East were able to go through a number of issues very quickly.

“But there were some uncertainties when it got to the end," he said. "Some television issues, and other issues. We are at an impasse and couldn’t go any further.

“They were eager to make this happen, to get BYU on board. We weren’t ready to do this. We gave them a proposal – I’m not sure exactly how it got out – we could do that, we could sign on right now if there were TV rights for our home games. But that would have been certain; we would have known exactly what we were getting into.

“We tried to come up with a possible solution, once we reached an impasse.”

Holmoe also said BYU never had any television discussions with the Big 12.

“We didn’t get too far down the road (with the Big 12),” Holmoe said.

Even though, the Cougars left the Mountain West last season to become an independent in football, Holmoe and Mendenhall both said the school sounded eager to join a conference.

“We’re continuing looking for conference affiliation if it were to come along, we’re not hanging posters on conference doors,” Holmoe said. “We’re going to keep our eyes open.”

Mendenhall added that “at some point, some one in a conference will say that’s a ‘very unique brand that wins a lot of football games that has a worldwide following and has tremendous assets and we want them.’ ”

A source told CBSSports.com last week that the Big East had “moved on” and was no longer pursuing BYU as a football member.

“The Big East, I respect them so much,” Holmoe said. “I’m not in position to tell them where things are.”


Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:24 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Big East, San Diego State begin discussions

With BYU officially out of the picture for the Big East, the league has begun negotiations with San Diego State about the Aztecs joining the league as a football-only member, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Saturday night.

On Tuesday, CBSSports.com first reported that the Big East would target San Diego State after the league had decided to “move on” and no longer pursue BYU.

The San Diego Tribune first reported Saturday night negotiations had begun between the Big East and San Diego State.

The Big East is talking with the Aztecs because Boise State wants a guarantee of a “Western partner” before joining the league. The Broncos, along with Houston, SMU, UCF and Navy, are all ready to join the Big East, but Boise State is waiting for the Big East to secure a Western partner and Houston, SMU and UCF are waiting to join with Boise State.

Navy has told Boise State, SMU, Houston and UCF it definitely will join, sources said, but are waiting on those schools as well.

Air Force, which remains a football-only target of the Big East, remains undecided.

San Diego State, Boise State and Navy would join as football only members, while SMU, Houston and UCF would be all-sports members. San Diego State and Boise State could place its Olympic sports in the Big West.

None of the new Big East schools would join the league until the 2013 school year, sources told CBSSports.com.



Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 10:11 pm
 

Saban says Richardson "best player in country"

AUBURN, Ala. – Alabama coach Nick Saban got right to the point when asked about running back Trent Richardson’s Heisman Trophy chances.

“To me Trent Richardson is the best football player in the country,” Saban said.

Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards at Auburn Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s 42-14 victory. Is that enough to win the Heisman? In this wild and wacky season, who knows?

“You love saying that about someone who is such a good person and someone who does so much to serve other people,” Saban said. “He is a great teammate. He is a leader. He cares about everyone around him. His performance and production pretty much speak for itself.”

Richardson has scored 23 touchdowns this season, one shy of tying the SEC’s single season record. Richardson said the fact he’s even mentioned for the Heisman is more of a team honor.

“It’s an honor to have my name mentioned in that situation and for this team,” Richardson said. “We do deserve it. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I think the offense deserves it, especially the offensive linemen.”

Does Richardson, who is averaging 132 yards per game, deserve the Heisman? I don’t think so.

There are too many great quarterbacks out there having great seasons – Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, Houston’s Case Keenum, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boise State’s Kellen Moore, USC’s Matt Barkley and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden. But Richardson could have something that none of those quarterbacks have: and that’s a national title on Jan. 9

Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Big East done pursuing BYU

The Big East has decided "to move on" and is no longer pursuing BYU as a conference member, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday morning, sources previously had told CBSSports.com that unless BYU decided to relinquish its television rights for its home football games, the Cougars would not join the Big East. The Cougars would not do so.

"The Big East has moved on," a source said about the prospect of adding BYU.

The Cougars had been in discussions with the Big East for weeks about joining the league. In the earlier negotiations between BYU and the Big East, BYU did not have an issue with relinquishing its home television rights. That changed, however.

"They (BYU) are being extremely unreasonable all of a sudden," a source said Tuesday morning. "This is one reason why they did not get into the Big 12. Their general counsel (lawyers) is a piece of work.”

With BYU out of the picture, the Big East will target San Diego State as a football-only member, a source said. The reason the Big East would seek out the Aztecs is because Boise State wants a Western partner before joining the league.

The Big East had hoped to announce its newest members (SMU, Houston, UCF and Boise State) in the past two weeks, but the on-going discussions with BYU brought the Big East’s expansion plans to a standstill. That’s because the league wanted to announce SMU, UCF, Houston and Boise State as new members together along with either BYU or Air Force or both schools.

Air Force does not plan to make a decision until after the regular season ends on Saturday, a source said.

Navy also is waiting for the other schools to join before fully committing to the league.

“It’s like everyone standing by the pool, waiting for someone to jump in before everyone else jumps in,” a source said.

On Oct. 25, CBSSports.com first reported that the Western contingent of possible future Big East members was making a push to add BYU.

Two weeks ago, a source told CBSSports.com San Diego State was pursuing a football-only membership with the Big East. San Diego State had previously pursued membership in the Big 12.

Houston, SMU, UCF and Boise State are committed to joining the Big East. Navy also has told those four schools, who CBSSports.com reported were working in concert to join the league, it also is committed to the Big East. With those five schools, the league will still need two more football schools to get to a 12-team league. Those possibilities now are San Diego State and Air Force with the 12-team league split in a West and East division.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and coach Bronco Mendenhall were said to favor a move to the Big East, but BYU President Cecil Samuelson and the school’s general counsel weren't as receptive. That was unless the Cougars could have retained their home television rights, which is unheard of for a conference school.

If the Big East gave up the television rights to BYU’s home games, it would have reduced the amount the Big East could seek in its upcoming negotiations for its new media rights deal with either ESPN, NBC-Comcast and/or Fox.

There are no schools in any of the BCS AQ conferences that retain their home television rights, only those schools that are independents. BYU is in its first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West and last year signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, which would have to be reworked if the Cougars joined the Big East.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Boise State gets authorization to join Big East

Boise State will not be a BCS buster much longer.

On Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education gave Boise State President Bob Kustra authorization to join the Big East as football-only member.

The Big East is one of six automatic qualifying BCS leagues and is guaranteed its BCS status through the 2013 season. Boise State has not received an "official invitation" yet, but would join the Big East on July 1, 2013.

The addition of Boise State would be huge for the Big East, which is trying to restock its league after Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia announced they would be leaving the league for the ACC or Big 12 conferences.

Boise State submitted a motion to its State Board of Education Thursday to “change conference affiliation for its intercollegiate athletics teams” and leave the Mountain West. It was passed by the board, 7-1, Thursday afternoon. The school likely won't finalize a move to the Big East until it can secure a home for its Olympic sports.

As reported by CBSSports.com on Tuesday, lawyers from Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU have been working together the past two weeks in negotiations with the Big East and plan to have all four introduced together as new members. Sources told CBSSports.com this could occur as early as Friday, but Kustra told the state's Board of Education a move may not occur until next week.

Although no official invitation from the Big East has been extended, Big East commissioner John Marinatto has had numerous conversations with representatives from all four schools – plus Navy and Air Force – in the past weeks.

“The University anticipates an offer is imminent and is requesting Board approval to proceed in the best interests of the University should an offer be extended,” the school presented in an agenda item to the Board of Education.

According to Boise State, “The Big East plans to adopt a 12 team football conference with an East and West Division. The two division alignment allows the addition of a championship game at the end of the season. A conference championship game is expected to also add value to the media rights of the conference.”

"Being in a BCS conference is absolutely critical," Kustra told the board.

Kustra also said that by Boise State providing more than a year's notice to leave the Mountain West, the school would not have to pay a $5 million exit fee.

CBSSports.com has reported the league likely would be divided this way – West: Boise State, Houston, SMU, Louisville, Air Force and BYU (if the Cougars opt to join) and East: Cincinnati, Navy, UConn, South Florida, UCF and Rutgers.

Besides Boise State, sources told CBSSports.com that Houston, UCF, SMU and Navy are committed to joinig the Big East and only awaiting an official invitation. Sources said they expect Air Force to also join after those five schools have officially been added to the Big East.

Any new Big East members would not join the league until July 1, 2013.




Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Nationally ranked Boise State and Houston along with SMU and UCF could be added as Big East members by Friday, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

On Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Big East’s presidents and chancellors authorized league commissioner John Marinatto to issue invitations to those schools – along with Navy and Air Force – sources said. 

However, Boise State, Houston, SMU and UCF prefer to be announced as league members together and must wait until Boise State’s board meeting on Thursday. There have been no “official invitations” extended to the schools, but Marinatto has been in constant contact and spoke to representatives of all six schools after Tuesday’s meeting.

Boise State would join as a football-only member, while UCF, SMU and Houston would join as all-sport members beginning in 2013. 

Following Tuesday's Big East meeting in Philadelphia, representatives from those four schools – plus Navy – held a conference call. All four schools are “100 percent” on board in joining together with the only possible hang-up being Boise State finding a conference home for its Olympic sports – most likely the WAC or West Coast Conference.

Navy has told the other schools on Tuesday's call it “is definitely in” and Air Force is expected to join once Navy commits to the Big East, a source said. 

On Oct. 23 in Washington D.C. Marinatto met with representatives from Boise State, Houston, SMU, Navy and UCF. Since then representatives from the general counsels at Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU have been working together in concert to negotiate several details, including entrance and exit fees upon joining the Big East.

TCU’s entrance fee to join the Big East was $2.5 million and the new members’ entrance fee is expected to be the same. However, the schools actually don’t pay that amount up front – it’s usually taken out of league revenues over a five-year period.

The addition of those four schools will help offset the recent announced departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12.

TCU, which left the Big East before ever playing in the league, will join the Big 12 next season. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia can not leave before July 1, 2014. However, West Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Big East on Monday so that the Mountaineers could join the Big 12 next year and would not have to honor the league’s 27-month requirement before leaving.

The league’s presidents and chancellors discussed West Virginia’s lawsuit during Tuesday’s meeting in Philadelphia.

“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,” Marinatto said in a statement. “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.”

Bringing Boise State on board would help the Big East’s bid to retain status as an automatic qualifying BCS conference, when the new cycle begins in 2014. Since 2006, the Broncos are 68-5 with two undefeated seasons. Boise State (7-0) is ranked No. 5 in this week’s BCS standings, while Houston (7-0) is No. 13.

The addition of Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Navy and Air Force would give the Big East 11 football schools in 2014. The Western contingent of schools also is pushing to bring BYU in as the Big East’s 12th-football playing member. If the Cougars, who are currently an independent, are not interested, Temple is the leading candidate as the league’s 12th member, sources said.

However, the league’s presidents on Tuesday did not officially discuss any candidates beyond Boise State, Houston, Navy, UCF, Air Force and SMU, a source said.

If Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia must stay in the Big East until 2014, the league would have 15 football members in 2013 – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Air Force, Navy, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and BYU/Temple.

In 2014, a 12-team Big East likely would be split into one of the following two six-team divisions based on BYU or Temple joining.

If BYU joins: West – Boise State, Air Force, BYU, Houston, SMU and Louisville; East – Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF and Navy.

If Temple joins: West – Boise State, Air Force, Houston, SMU, Louisville and Cincinnati; East – UConn, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF, Navy and Temple.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com