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Deadline set for Big East expansion? Sort of

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The Big East conference is set to renegotiate its first-tier television rights with ESPN — initially rumored to be in the $110-$130 million ballpark annually — during a 60-day period beginning in September, 2012. By that time, conference commissioner John Marinatto hopes to have a definitive number of attractive football members to help the league add value to the sports network.

That’s our goal. We need to [expand] before we go into that discussion, know what it is we are. We have to have an identity. We have to obviously have our membership squared away. And we will,” Marinatto told the Orlando Sentinel. Big East league meetings are currently taking place this week in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida.

Which programs will be part of that possible expansion, as well as exactly when they will come aboard, is still undecided — as it has been since the bold move to add TCU late last year.

“I’m not in a position to talk specifically about any schools,” Marinatto continued. “We won’t make any further comments on that until it’s appropriate… What I can tell you is that we had a more global and general discussion [Monday] both in regard to media rights moving forward as well as potential expansion.”

The speculations as to who the newest members will be — if the Big East does, in fact, move to add one or more members — have been about the only consistent portion of the possible expansion. Villanova, Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Miss and East Carolina have all had their name tossed around as part of a 10-or-12-team league.

Villanova was extended a formal invitation by the Big East last September, but concerns about the program’s capability to actually house a 1-A program have caused a delay in Villanova’s vote until June.

Recently, South Florida coach Skip Holtz cast his vote for his former employer, East Carolina, although the university itself reportedly has a superiority complex when it comes to possibly adding in-state “rival” Central Florida.

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8 Responses to “Deadline set for Big East expansion? Sort of”
  1. chefklm says: May 24, 2011 2:47 PM

    @ Iam

    What’s your proof that the Big Least is tougher than the Big Ten?

    Also I guess you didn’t see the report about Pitt having more criminals than anybody else. More than Florida if you can believe that…

  2. edgy says: May 24, 2011 3:04 PM

    I think that the Big Least is not going to do as well as they hoped because a lot of prime spots have been taken up because of the new contracts and they’re not the most attractive TV property out there (Kind of like the WAC East, if you ask me). I wouldn’t be surprised to see them taking up a lot of Thursday and Friday nights.

  3. floridacock says: May 24, 2011 3:58 PM

    If they were smart they would tie the football to the basketball contracts. Probably the only conference that could get away with that.

  4. noassemblyreqrd says: May 24, 2011 4:42 PM

    The biggest difference between the Big East and the Big Ten is that the Big East is truly a competitive conference. Who seriously expects Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern to compete for the Big Ten title in our lifetimes? Lately, it’s probably fair to add Penn State and Michigan to the list. The Big Ten is an unbalanced league, with several dominant teams who, as a result, have inflated poll rankings often leading to Bowl game disasters. This is emphasized by the fact that Nebraska is the leading preseason contender for the league title. In the Big East, no team is out of the picture at the start of the season. The Big East was hit hard by the ACC, and yet has rebounded by bringing in the excitement of programs that are new to BCS games. Ten years ago, who would have thought Cincinnati would sell out all its football games? Occasionally it would be nice to see Indiana win the Big Ten, but we all know it isn’t happening. From the Big East, the BCS had Connecticut last year and Cincinnati the year before that. Some say it’s a sign that the Big East is weak. The reality is the opposite. It’s a sign that the Big East has no truly awful teams, and every single Big East program can legitimately begin the year with an expectation that they are “in it to win it.” I also think that having Connecticut (a team that only recently became Division I) and (an undefeated) Cincinnati is far better than having Ohio State, followed by Ohio State, followed by Ohio State, followed by Nebraska, followed by Nebraska.

  5. frug says: May 24, 2011 5:07 PM

    Who seriously expects Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, and Northwestern to compete for the Big Ten title in our lifetimes?

    Well if you are over the age of 11 you have already seen Purdue and Northwestern (2000) and Illinois (2001) win conference titles.

  6. noassemblyreqrd says: May 24, 2011 6:45 PM

    I stand corrected, but “none in our lifetimes” is certainly what it feels like. The point still remains that the league is terribly imbalanced and most teams have no realistic expectation of competing for the league title. Purdue has had one league title in the past 53 years. Northwestern has had three in the past 74 years. Illinois has had three in the past 57 years. Neither Indiana nor Minnesota has had a league title for well over 50 years.

  7. stillhereandnotgoinganywhere says: May 25, 2011 2:35 PM

    I agree. The Big Ten is a weak conference. Take away the top 2-3 teams and the competitive level drops off the cliff. At least Nebraska coming in adds another quality team.

  8. stillhereandnotgoinganywhere says: May 25, 2011 2:37 PM

    frug says:

    Well if you are over the age of 11 you have already seen Purdue and Northwestern (2000) and Illinois (2001) win conference titles.

    _____________________________

    Well can you tell us exactly how many championships those schools have produced in the last 30 years or so?
    Thank you

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