Late last night, Ben noted a report which stated Big East officials were set to hold a teleconference Friday, with the primary objective being the conference’s presidents and chancellors voting on an increase in exit fees from the current $5 million to somewhere north of $10 million.
Should that transpire, the path would reportedly be cleared for the conference to move on to the next phase of keeping the league alive: doubling its current membership.
According to the New York Post, and citing unnamed sources, the Big East will issue invitations to Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF — those first three institutions would join as football-only members — once the exit fees are increased. The Post reports those invitations could be made as early as this weekend.
The Big East had previously announced it had authorized conference officials to expand membership to an even dozen schools.
The final two spots, the Post reports, would come down to Temple, SMU and Houston. From the paper:
Sources told The Post that Villanova expressed strong objection to sharing the Philadelphia market with Temple. Philadelphia, however, is home to Comcast, which logically favors more Philadelphia-based institutions. It’s possible the Owls could receive a football-only invitation.
If the Temple issue can’t be resolved, the league will move on Houston and SMU. Some factions in the conference don’t favor inviting both Texas schools, although with Boise State and Air Force aboard, it would make sense to have other programs west of the Mississippi.
Boise State has been connected to the Big East for the past couple of weeks, although a report surfaced yesterday that both the school and the conference had serious reservations about a hook-up. Based on the Post‘s report, it appears at least one of the two sides have worked their way through whatever reservations it may have had. It remains unclear how BSU would respond if issued an official invitation, although their decision would likely boil down to one factor: whether or not the Big East would maintain their automatic BcS bid beyond the current cycle that ends in 2013.
While some media outlets have referenced a two-year waiver that would carry the Big East’s automatic BcS bid through 2015, that’s far from guaranteed. The addition of Boise State, however, could go a long way toward retaining the coveted and financially lucrative postseason slot.