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The Big East Conference is at it again, as CBSSports.com's Brent McMurphy is reporting that Memphis University is set to join the league in all sports in 2013. The report could not be confirmed by Memphis' athletic director, R.C. Johnson, but McMurphy's sources say that an announcement could come sometime this week.
"The Tigers would join the Big East with three other Conference USA members – Houston, SMU and UCF – for the 2013-14 school year. The Big East also will add Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members in 2013 and Navy in 2015.
"..."While the addition of Memphis is for all sports, the Tigers' men's basketball program would help offset the future losses of men’s basketball powers Syracuse, West Virginia and Pittsburgh."
According to the report, if the University of Pittsburgh, Syracuse University and West Virginia University leave the league in 2013, then the Big East will have 11 football team and 17 men's basketball teams.
For more on Big East Expansion, visit this SB Nation Tampa Bay StoryStream.
The Big East has moved slowly on their expansion plans, but it appears the day has finally arrived. At a press conference at 5:00pm EST today, the Big East is expected to announce that they have added five new schools to the conference: Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, and UCF.
Boise State and San San Diego State are coming from the Mountain West Conference and will both be football-only schools, while the remaining three schools are coming from C-USA and will be full members. These schools will give the Big East 10 football schools, and they are still in talks with Air Force and Navy about bringing them on as football-only schools.
This move shores up the Big East's depleted ranks, and it gives them enough talent that they can still be taken seriously as a conference. In particular, adding Boise State should definitely help the Big East when their automatic BCS berth comes up for negotiation again. They are also expanding into major markets, which should help their odds are obtaining a large television deal in the near future.
For more on how this news affects the local UCF Knights, check out Jason Collete's column on the subject.
It has been a long an exhausting courtship for UCF and its fans, but it appears that they will finally be joining the Big East tomorrow at a press conference in New York.
The Big East has been talking about adding some new schools to replace the recently departed ones, and BYU has become the focus of their search, according to ESPN.
BYU is seriously considering joining the Big East, a conference source told ESPN's Joe Schad on Tuesday night. BYU is in its first season as football independent. If it did move to the Big East it would be for football only. The school's other teams play in the West Coast Conference. The Big East is close to adding as many as seven new members, including Boise State, Air Force and Navy for football only, and SMU, Houston and UCF in all sports.
We don't know when the timeline is for some if any of these schools to join the Conference, but it makes sense that the Big East would want to jump on this as quickly as possible to try and save a little bit of face.
"Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions," Marinatto said, "including both football-only and all-sport members to join the BIG EAST Conference." The statement did not name the specific schools, of course, but it's expected that the same schools whose names have appeared in rumors of late will receive invitations: the Air Force Falcons, Boise St. Broncos, Central Florida Knights, SMU Mustangs, and Houston Cougars.
It's important to note, as Brett McMurphy does, that "football-only and all-sport memberships" does not mean "non-football memberships." Bottom line: if you want to join the Big East, you had better bring your football team.
We've heard a lot of reports and "sources say" about West Virginia moving to the Big 12, but now we finally have some official confirmation. From the losing party, the Big East:
That must have been a pretty difficult call to make for the Big East as they see their biggest football school relocate to a Conference that isn't even guaranteed a particularly long future. But whatever problems the Big 12 has, they are a lot better than the Big East at this point.
According to Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports, the Big 12 has reportedly invited West Virginia to join their Conference, and it is all but a certainty that they will accept.
West Virginia has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Friday. The Mountaineers will accept the invitation, sources said. The Big 12 is expected to officially announce the invitation later today.
A few days ago we thought that this was a certainty, but then some rumors popped up that claimed Louisville might be taking the spot reserved for the Mountaineers. The roller coaster seems to have come to a stop however, and it is the last stop for West Virginia in the Big East.
This is terrible news for South Florida and the rest of the Big East football schools because West Virginia was the last nationally recognizable program left in the Conference. Without them there are just five football teams left, and none with a very strong football pedigree.
As of last night the University of West Virginia had scheduled a press conference for Wednesday morning, presumably to announce their intentions to leave the Big East for the Big 12. But that press conference has been canceled, and the move which we all thought was so much of a sure thing, might be on hold. According to the staff at West Virginia's Metro News, Louisville is making a late push to be replace West Virginia as the team that joins the Big 12 to replace Missouri.
The Dominion Post's Drew Rubenstein reports that there was a "late push" by the University of Louisville to be considered instead of WVU. "Sources used terms like ‘volatile' and ‘internal battle' to describe the conference realignment with the Big 12," Rubenstein reported. Last night, WVU called off preliminary plans for a press conference today.
Louisville might be a better fit for the Big 12 because they have higher standards academically and are a comparable, even if a little bit worse, football team. We'll have to see if the Big 12 finds them to be more palatable as well. But buckle your seat belts everybody, this thing seems to change by the hour.
The Big East as we knew it is no more. The teams that defined it on the football for so many years, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia, are on their way out and the remaining teams are likely scrambling to find inclusion in another Conference with a brighter future. The Big East is also struggling to define their future, and according to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that may come as part of a new super-conference with the Mountain West and Conference USA.
Commissioners from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are scheduled to meet with the head of the Big East Conference today to discuss the formation of one 28- to 32-football team super conference in an effort to gain automatic Bowl Championship Series status. The Mountain West and Conference USA already have agreed to merge by either next year or in 2013.
The logistics of forming a super conference like this would be completely insane. The travel, the scheduling, and who knows how this would apply to the non-football sports. To be honest, it just feels a little bit desperate, but maybe that is where the Big East is right now.
According to a recent report from Pete Thamel at the New York Times, the rumors from this morning are true: West Virginia has been accepted into the Big 12 and will announce its intentions to join the league as soon as Missouri leaves for the SEC. Both announcements could come as quickly as within the next 24-48 hours.
Since the Big East had failed to raise their exit fee — the proposed hike was contingent on certain teams joining the league — the Mountaineers will only have to pay a $5 million exit fee. It’s likely that the Big East will try and stall West Virginia like they have threatened to do with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, preventing them from leaving the Big East until 2014, but such stalling tactics won’t save their conference. West Virginia was the Big East’s strongest football program, so Big East commissioner John Marinatto will need to get aggressive with expansion unless he wants to see his conference crumble and fade into irrelevancy.
The only good news for the Big East is that the Big 12 has decided to stay put at 10 teams for now, meaning the Big East isn’t in any more immediate danger of losing more teams. Of course, that’s also bad news for any other Big East teams hoping to flee from the fiery, burning wreck of their conference. The five teams left — USF, UConn, Rutgers, Louisville, and Cincinatti — are looking rather screwed.
What team could possibly want to join the Big East right now? If Marinatto wants to expand and to save his conference, it may already be too late.
The Big East has been losing schools left and right this season, but if the reports coming out Tuesday morning are true, they might just lose their biggest school to the Big 12 in the recent future. According to Lenn Robbins of the New York Post, West Virginia will leave the Big East to join the Big 12 when and if Missouri decides to leave the Conference for the SEC.
"Of all the schools the league has lost, from a football standpoint losing West Virginia would be the most damaging," a source told The Post. "Despite what anyone says, that's the program the league has hung its hat on."
Now it must be noted that Missouri leaving the Conference for the SEC is not happening just yet. The Conference met over the past few days and Missouri decided to stay for another year. But they still seem like they want to leave and join the SEC, so whenever that happens, West Virginia appears to be the team that will replace them.
The Air Force Falcons are among the teams the Big East has invited to join--albeit in a football-only capacity--as covered previously in this StoryStream, and it doesn't appear as though the service academy is in a hurry to act on the opportunity: Pete Thamel of the New York Times says "Air Force [is] in no rush." Further, he quotes Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh as saying, "There’s not [sic] real impetus to do anything but sit back and watch."
The Falcons (3-3, 0-2) are currently part of the Mountain West Conference, which they joined prior to the 1999 season. The Big East hoped to add them, the Navy Midshipmen, and the Army Black Knights in order to compensate for the departures of the Syracuse Orange and the Pittsburgh Panthers. Army's lack of interest only added more pressure to the conference to reshape itself.
The Big East may also invite the Central Florida Knights, who appear to be ready to use a tactic diametrically opposed to Air Force's, which is to say they're likely to accept in the immediate future, should the Big East make an offer.
Stay tuned to this StoryStream for future updates about the Big East's efforts to expand as they become available. The South Florida Bulls will soon have some new rivals.
On Monday night, the Big East members’ Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to increase the conference’s exit fee to $10 million. It’s a double-down, as the fee jumps from $5 million to $10 million. The increase, however, is contingent upon service academies Navy and Air Force joining the conference to swell its football member ranks.
News Monday afternoon that Missouri’s move to the SEC was imminent had significant implications on the chancellors’ discussions. CBSSports Brett McMurphy had the report:
Less than an hour before the Big East’s presidents and chancellors held their teleconference Monday night with Commissioner John Marinatto, the New York Times reported Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 to the SEC was "inevitable and imminent."
That development would have a significant impact on the league, specifically Big East members Louisville and West Virginia, who sources have told CBSSports.com are prime candidates to receive a Big 12 invitation if Missouri left. However, all of the Big East’s 14 members still voted unanimously for the increased exit fee Monday night.
The fee increase is aimed at bringing stability to the current members of the conference, particularly Louisville and West Virginia, thus making it more appealing for Navy and Air Force to join.
In addition to the service academics, the Big East continues to talk to Central Florida and Boise State. UCF is ready to join and awaits an invitation. As for Boise State, McMurphy reported that the Big East was confident about their chances with the Broncos.
As of Saturday, the Big East "felt confident about their discussions with Boise State," a college football industry source told CBSSports.com.
The University of Central Florida Knights have been extended an invitation for entry to the Big East conference as the Big East attempts to save face and put together a viable conference that will keep a BCS bowl bid. The Big East invited UCF and four other schools yesterday to replace Pittsburgh and Syracuse, two schools who announced last month that they bound for the ACC.
The Big East, wanting to keep pace with the NCAA landscape, invited five schools in Air Force, Boise State, Houston, Southern Methodist and UCF, though the latter three are the only schools extended an invitation for full entry. Air Force and Boise State were only extended invitations as football-only members, probably because to avoid the strain of the current Big East members' Olympic and non-revenue sports from having to travel such great distances and vice versa.
The conference's collective hand was forced yesterday when the first numbers-wise "super" conference was constructed, when the Conference USA and the Mounatin West Conference decided to join up to make a 22-team two division league. As all five invitees were involved in the current expansion plans of the C-USA and the Mountain West, the Big East was again beaten to the punch on the expansion front.
Currently no schools have commented on the invitations, though it is expected that UCF will accept, and that Houston and Southern Methodist remain strong possibilities. However, it is unlikely that Boise State or Air Force will accept. Originally the Big East planned to extended offers to all three major service academies in Army, Navy and Air Force. When Army expressed little interest, it became a harder sell to the other two schools. Boise has proven over the years that it doesn't need to be in a particular conference to have success. The Broncos just moved to the Mountain West last year after 10-plus years in the Western Athletic Conference, and appear to be comfortable with their new destination.
Certainly there will be more to come on this subject, so keep a tab open with SB Nation in your browser for updates.
On Friday night, the AP reported that the Big East will invite Boise State, along with Navy, Air Force, and Central Florida to join the conference as they scramble to fill the void left by the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Boise and the service academies would join as football only members while Central Florida would join for all sports.
Ralph Russo of the Associated Press reported that the invitations could go out next week. In addition to inviting the four new schools, the conference will also increase its exit fee to $10 million.
The Big East plans to invite Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members, and Central Florida to compete in all sports, after it doubles the exit fee for current members to $10 million.
An official in the Big East, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conference had not authorized anyone to speak publicly about its plans, told The Associated Press the invitations could go out as soon as next week.
The story continues to develop as the Big East attempts to keep up with the day-to-day developments of conference realignment. Follow this StoryStream for further updates.
For fans of schools in the Big East, Friday is a huge day. A make-or-break day. A day where you’ll either go to sleep with renewed hope about your conference’s chances of survival, or with the sickening knowledge that the Big East is doomed.
Why is that? Well, the Big East schools are meeting again today to discuss raising the exit fee to around the $15-17 million range, a move that would show that the league is committed and stabilized, and would make it easier for them to attract new schools to fill in their holes. If the vote passes, the Big East will likely go ahead and make invitations to six new schools: Air Force, Navy, Boise State, UCF, and two more schools that have yet to be decided. And if this all happens, the league can still be saved and retain some semblance of its self-respect.
But if the motion doesn’t pass — which it didn’t last week — that essentially means that too many schools want out of the Big East and are planning to jump ship. Louisville and West Virginia have already made it clear that they’re abstaining from the vote. Considering there are only six football school remaining in the Big East…well, that’s not a good sign.
If this fails again, that’s essentially it for the Big East. Their hopes of attracting new schools are all but gone, and West Virginia and Louisville will probably leave. And at that point, who knows what happens to the rest of the teams in the league?
So USF fans out there, keep your fingers crossed that this passes. Because if not, your program could be in for a rough ride.
The Big East has had a rough couple weeks. After losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC, TCU decided to jump ship before even joining the conference. Teams are fleeing the Big East like a sinking ship, and if more teams haven’t left already, I’m certain it’s not due to lack of effort on their parts.
According to Greg Auman from the St. Petersburg Times, though, the Big East recently tried to raise their exit fee in order to discourage other members from leaving:
According to an e-mail from commissioner John Marinatto to school presidents released to the Times on Wednesday as part of a public records request, the agenda for the Oct. 2 meeting in Washington, D.C., asked for schools to consider raising the exit fee to the greater of $5 million or “150 percent of gross revenues (from the conference) during the final fiscal year in which the withdrawing member is a member of the conference.” Football members are believed to get between $8 million and $10 million from the Big East, which would put the proposed exit fee at between $12 million and $15 million.
The motion didn’t pass, so the exit fee remains a relatively paltry $5 million; compare that to Conference USA, which has a $7 million exit fee. Considering the Big East is hoping to poach multiple teams from C-USA in order to refill their league, it has to be somewhat alarming to them that it’s easier to leave the Big East than it is to leave C-USA.
Then again, why would Big East schools want to increase the exit fee now of all times? Multiple teams have already left, and the few that are left likely will want to keep their options open in case they are given the chance to flee. The time for increasing the exit fee was before all this mess began, but commissioner John Marinatto didn’t act quick enough.
The Big East is hurting real bad right now, they lost Pitt and Syracuse a few weeks ago, and now TCU is leaving the Conference for the Big 12 before every playing the game as a member. But the Conference isn't complacent at just being a six-team Football entity, and you have to imagine that the Schools in the Conference wouldn't be comfortable with that either. According to Greg Auman of the St. Petersburg Times, the Big East is looking to expand in Football, and they're considering the usual suspects.
That would mean adding six new members in football -- the latest wrinkle, reported Sunday by the Boston Globe, was that Boise State was being courted as a football-only addition. The Broncos join the usual cast of potential additions -- Navy and Air Force, Temple, Central Florida and Houston, as well as Villanova, which plays I-AA football right now.
That sounds all well and good, but our South Florida blog Voodoo Five points out that things might not be that easy.
One big thing to note is that the conference just can't add 6 football-only schools. The Bylaw Blog tweeted last night that the Big East has to have eight full members playing eight women's and six men's sports within the Big East in order to compete in FBS football. This will give schools like Temple, ECU, and UCF (or even Villanova!) a chance to grab at least two of the six spots.
The Big East is in a very serious state of flux right now; as teams continue to bolt to safer conferences they seem like they want to find some teams to replace them. According to Bill Koch of Cincinnati.com, the Big East may be looking to invite Central Florida and East Carolina to help replace some of the recently departed schools.
In light of TCU’s apparent move to the Big 12 Conference, Big East officials are moving quickly to try to shore up its remaining six football schools with indications that the league will invite East Carolina and Central Florida to join the league, perhaps as early as Friday.
It's pretty incredible that the Big East, just two months ago one of the better Conferences in the Nation, has only six football teams left. East Carolina and Central Florida are up and coming football programs, but they are hardly suitable replacements for a school like TCU. If this is the direction the Big East is in fact going, it could mean that even more of the bigger schools are soon to depart.
For more, head over to our Big East Coast Bias blog.
With TCU all set to join the Big XII next year, it puts the Big East on life support as the conference is now down to six football members. At this point, the Big XII is waiting for Missouri to decide whether it will leave for the SEC or stay with the Big XII. If the Tigers decide to stay, there are reports out there that say the Big XII will stop at 10 teams and give the Big East a stay of execution. If the Tigers go however, Louisville will be the next school invited, and that would most likely cause the Big East to effectively cease to exist.
Voodoo Five talked about this possible scenario last year when it looked like the Big 10 was going to expand and demolish the Big East.
If three or more all-sports BIG EAST members leave and no one goes past 14 teams, we think USF is well and truly ------. And we're not just throwing that word around. It would be an epic fail of the highest order. Once it gets down to five teams, it's all over. The BIG EAST wouldn't have enough left in football to lay any claim to being a BCS-worthy conference, or even a viable football league.
At this point, USF will have to wait it out and see what happens. The ACC isn't an option at this point with two other Florida teams already in the conference, and the Big XII not looking at USF at the moment. The Bulls would either have to drop down to Conference USA or be a part of some hodgepodge Big East that would include various MAC and C-USA squads to fill out the ranks. Either way, it doesn't put USF in the best situation until the next round of expansion happens.
According to Pete Thame from the New York Times, Texas Christian University (TCU) has elected to move to the Big 12 instead of the Big East. After losing two schools recently — Nebraska and Colorado — the Big 12 seems to be making an effort to expand their ranks and solidify their conference.
This news comes as a disappointment to fans of teams in the Big East, and it’s yet another blow to the Big East’s hopes of continued existence. TCU had committed to moving into the Big East, and the Big East was expecting them to hold true to that commitment in the wake of Pittsburgh and Syracuse moving to the ACC. Apparently TCU was scared off of the Big East as well, though, and is willing to pay the $5m exit fee in order to move to another conference.
Without TCU, the Big East is now in a pickle. They will be losing two schools in a matter of years, and they have no ready replacements. Army? Navy? University of Buffalo? Temple? All lackluster options, but they may be the best the Big East can do. They only have six football teams remaining in their conference, so they have a number of holes to fill...and fast.
This is a nervous time for USF fans who are concerned about what the future holds as far as conference affiliation and access to the BCS. What's going on and where could the Bulls end up landing?
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