Big East announces decision to invite schools to conference

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After the Big East spent the last month and a half losing schools, it is now ready to start adding more schools.

Sources identify that the schools will reportedly include Boise State, along with Air Force and Navy for football only, and the University of Houston, Central Florida, and SMU for all sports in the next few days.

The presidents of the league had a unanimous vote to extend formal invitations to schools following their Tuesday meeting in Philadelphia, although they apparently did not reveal which schools they would be inviting.

When asked to elaborate on the plans of the Big East, Commissioner John Marinatto declined to comment. He only said that they expected the schools to accept, although details still had to be worked out with each school.

He explained that they had learned over the past two months not to believe anything that anybody told them. He described the scene as nothing being final until it was all over. That was why he was being highly cautious, as well as hesitant about revealing which schools were being invited.

Of course, Marinatto did admit that the league planned to expand west. He also acknowledged that the invitations would go out for all-sports institutions as well as for football only.

The timetable remains unclear, although Marinatto revealed to the media that they were hopeful that this expansion process will be finished by the next week.

He said he would be meeting with the schools’ representatives “shortly,” and that he was looking forward to announcing the acceptance of the schools into the Big East.

Officials from the University of Houston were sought out, but they were not available for comment.
The school, which is presently a member of Conference USA and is a league charter member, had gotten an unofficial invitation last month to join the Big East. The UH board of regents voted on Thursday to give the authority of deciding on conference realignment-related issues to president and chancellor Renu Khator. This authority included the approval to negotiate as well as decide on conference affiliation, as well as to negotiate and make announcements of cancellation of contracts as deemed necessary.

The Big East’s plan of expansion is reportedly part of an effort to keep its status as automatically qualifying for the Bowl Championship Series, as well as to stabilize its membership for football.

Marinatto also explained that the league’s goal was to have a football model of 12 teams.

The addition of new schools will reportedly extend the reach of the league, as well as bring them to new markets. It is also expected to strengthen their status within the BCS, as well as lay a foundation for even more expansion in the future, while keeping the high standards of quality for which the conference was popular.

When it comes to the impending departure of West Virginia, Marinatto confirmed that the Big East intended to keep to its 27-month waiting period. Following an invitation from the Big 12, West Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Big East to try to make do without the waiting period, in hopes of joining the Big 12 by the time the football season started for 2012.

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