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Big East expansion continues to be a mess

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Big East football on Saturday was largely unbearable (again) with games like a 16-10 victory by UConn over South Florida and yet another second-half collapse by Pitt in a 26-14 loss to a very average Utah team; a 21-20 come-from-behind win by Rutgers over Navy was the league’s only redeeming game.

The Big East’s conference expansion woes have been equally, if not more, frustrating than the on-the-field performances. The conference reportedly voted Friday to extend formal invites to Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF in either a football-only capacity or as a full-time member, and Temple, SMU and Houston were all in consideration for the final two spots.

Since then, it’s been a complete mess.

Big East presidents have yet to vote on raising exit fees to at least $10 million, a priority that was supposed to have been taken care of Friday and was seen as a trigger for acceptance from the likes of Boise State and Navy. Both programs reportedly had reservations about joining the Big East unless exit fees were raised beyond their current $5 million.

An ESPN report later stated that Navy was very skeptical about joining the conference and that the Big East’s increased exit fees were conditioned on acceptance from Houston, SMU, Boise State and Air Force.

Navy says that’s simply not true.

We’re still in the running, there’s no question,” said Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk Saturday to the Baltimore Sun. “All the media speculation, there’s no credibility to it… We’re not skeptical about joining.”

One candidate that is on edge teetering on the outside looking in is Temple. The Owls are reportedly being blocked by Villanova and other basketball members as a member of the Big East. Temple was kicked out of the Big East after the 2004 season and was thought to be a potential addition for the league’s new 12-team expansion plans.

So, just to be clear: Villanova, a basketball-only member with no means to move up to 1-A football has, with the help of other basketball-only members with no means to to move up to 1-A football, has successfully blocked Temple. The Philadelphia Inquirer states, though, that Big East basketball members were more open to the idea of bringing in the Philly school as a football-only member.

Speaking of which, what about Boise State? Mountain West athletic director Chris Thompson confirmed on a Friday night conference call over the MWC new “alliance” with Conference USA that Boise State had been in talks with the Big East about joining the conference. Whether they will remains to be seen.

At any rate, Boise and Navy still appear to be on the Big East’s radar. Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports the Big East’s expansion plans include “Air Force, Navy and Boise State as football-only members, as well as Central Florida, Southern Methodist and Houston as full members.”

On the same Friday conference call, Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said UCF was in talks with the Big East as well, but added he was unaware of any talks among Houston, SMU and the Big East.

Invites for new members, whomever they may be, may not come until Monday, the same day as when the conference is expected (again) to vote on exit fees. Big East bylaws state no invitations can be sent until after a 72-hour period from when member presidents are informed of plans to expand and/or restructure.

This delay could be for myriad reasons, but it’s still very possible that Louisville and West Virginia, especially the latter, are holding out as long as possible for an invite from another conference. The Big 12 is currently debating as to whether they would stay at 10 members or expand again to 12. BYU, thought to be off the Big 12’s radar, still remains the biggest obstacle for either of those Big East teams hoping to gain membership into the Big 12.

The official number of Big East football teams could be decided this week. However, the possibility remains very much alive that it will not stay at that number for even the immediate future, even with heightened exit fees.

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27 Responses to “Big East expansion continues to be a mess”
  1. Extraneous Ed says: Oct 16, 2011 12:19 PM

    To say Villanova has “no means to move up to I-A” isn’t entirely accurate. It has been pretty clear the University wants (even desperately wants) to move up, but was blocked months ago by Pitt and West Virginia. They still want to move up, and are willing to spend the money to make it happen. They just need the Big East to let them.

  2. cappa662 says: Oct 16, 2011 12:23 PM

    Big East just die already.

  3. helenh777 says: Oct 16, 2011 12:24 PM

    I for one am not sure what I am hoping will happen. Just want this mess to be over. Of course I want the best for WV.
    I do not consider what happens to Pitt., or Syracuse to be a problem. When Pitt wins they say good for the ACC. When they loose it is bad for the Big East. I hope they loose every game from here on out. People say the ACC is better. Hah, doesn’t look like it to me. Why not look at Fl. St, Maryland, Miami, N.C , and N.C. St. Wow, now there are some power houses!!!

    Then you have the great Big 10? Who is Michigan playing. So far noone. The only team of any Quality is Nebraska. I figure by the end of the year, that may not be true.

    By the way Roll Tide. You are the best team in the nation!!!!!!

  4. southernpatriots says: Oct 16, 2011 12:44 PM

    The Big East–what a mess. It is no wonder why West Virginia wants to come to the SEC. Not just because the SEC is the best conference for football, shares revenues evenly to all members, but is a stable conference, not a mish mash of members who are football only, basketball only, etc. Fans must have a calculator or a computer program to determine the schools and/or affiations, new applicants, etc.

  5. trainwreck101 says: Oct 16, 2011 1:07 PM

    I still think ECU and Marshall are a good fit for the Big East.

  6. atl14dat says: Oct 16, 2011 1:15 PM

    The Big East at no point should have ever been granted AQ status for the BCS.

    Abysmal football that will only get worse with each passing day.

    Need to go back to “Hoops only” configuration.They will lose AQ status anyway after the existing BCS Contract expires.

    Might as well throw all the resources into Bball and let the football playing schools latch on with better Conferences.

  7. thefiesty1 says: Oct 16, 2011 1:29 PM

    The Big East is a joke. Even by adding Boise and Houston, they barely have 4 schools that have any chance of actually being a “football” conference.

    What happens tomorrow when they vote to raise exit fees and half of the six current members vote NO? The answer— fold and go away.

  8. lakesidegator says: Oct 16, 2011 1:30 PM

    After yesterday, maybe the Gators ought to apply for a Big East slot.

    BTW, this just in: Florida re-opens Spring football practice Monday afternoon. Walk-on players & corches welcome.



  9. Deb says: Oct 16, 2011 6:49 PM

    @lakesidegator …

    They’ll be back. It takes time to completely change offensive systems.

  10. southernpatriots says: Oct 16, 2011 7:26 PM

    Deb and all:

    We are glad we have come through that stage. Changing offensive or defensive systems is a big pain for the players and for us fans. Sometimes we wondered what plays were being run and why because it sometimes looked like the Keystone Kops…ha. Thank God those days are behind us at LSU, we hope so anyway. Bless Florida and any team going through that.

  11. Deb says: Oct 16, 2011 8:11 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    At least when you’re changing systems, you know why your team looks like the Keystone Kops. What really hurts is when you’re not changing systems and have no idea why they look like that :)

  12. southernpatriots says: Oct 16, 2011 9:47 PM

    Deb: I had to call the rest of my family over and we all had a great laugh at your last post. That is soooo funny. It is so funny because it is true. We have had some situations like that with the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, such as today.

    We could not believe that the NO Coach had his knee torn up on the sideline and is in for emergency surgery tomorrow morning and could not coach the remainder of the game. Maybe the made a difference but Drew was not on target today. The team reminded me of one of our old cars some years ago which shook so much and ran so rough until finally we knew we either had to get it repaired or it would fall apart. The Saints looked like that today.

  13. Deb says: Oct 16, 2011 11:28 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Just as I read your post, they announced the Saints are playing next Sunday night. So glad because I was wondering what was going on with them and it will be good to see them for myself. Still haven’t seen a clip of Payton’s accident. Can’t believe that happened!! And a Bucs coach was injured on the sidelines, too! They said Payton coached the second half from the booth, but he must have been in a lot of pain because I think he suffered a break as well as tearing the ligaments.

    The Steelers offense had a lovely day, too. Apparently our offensive coordinator is a Buster Keaton fan. :)

  14. southernpatriots says: Oct 16, 2011 11:39 PM

    Deb: We’ve had a Sunday, haven’t we? ha. We are watching a replay of the ESPN talking heads in the BCS program. They are not SEC fans. They quickly run over just to cover their rears….”we all know of the 5 BCS titles they have, but…” But, what? But they have the best conference in college football? They want to talk about Notre Dame? Dear God, why Notre Dame? Why talk about a team…oh well, that is talking heads with a Yankee bias.

  15. Deb says: Oct 17, 2011 12:00 AM

    ROFL … to hear everyone on CFT tell it, the guys at ESPN are our biggest promoters. Wonder what happened! Yeah, I don’t watch much ESPN, but that’ll be the day when a bunch of guys in Bristol, Connecticut, become cheerleaders for Southern football.

    It may not be a tactful thing to say, but I’ve always just assumed since I was a kid that all those Notre Dame backers were Catholic. Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason so many people nationwide would blindly support a little school in Indiana.

    It has been a long day–at least the Steelers won. And no coaches were injured or got into fisticuffs on our sidelines 😀

  16. digit960 says: Oct 17, 2011 12:59 AM

    I still can’t understand how ECU got passed up in favor of Temple

  17. southernpatriots says: Oct 17, 2011 7:14 AM

    Deb: Well, being Catholic or in a Catholic culture (south Louisiana) is definitely great Notre Dame fan territory. Members of previous generations attended Notre Dame and/or St. Mary’s of Notre Dame and we know a huge number of people, distant kin, long time family friends, neighbors, etc. who have family members who attended Notre Dame and/or have been ardent fans of the school since the 1930s and 40s.

    It is definitely a Catholic thing and may be that Notre Dame games were broadcast in South Louisiana as much or more than LSU games back then. Notre Dame had very successful teams back then (and LSU had about one really good team a decade or so…ha.)

    You sure make sense about the Bristol, CT ESPN folks. CFT bloggers somehow believe because one commentator on a football game (Herbstreit?) wanted LSU to be #1 that it was indicative of ESPNs SEC bias…ha. They should have watched the BCS program and several others. They quickly gloss over the 5 straight wins to make sure they have that out in 2 seconds, then spend the remainder talking up the Big 10 and Big 12 and PAC, saying well you have to give LSU and Alabama some respect but no other team in the SEC, etc., etc., etc.

    There is no recognition of Arkansas, of A & M which is coming, of what Georgia is now doing, of South Carolina (before the loss of Lattimore), of Auburn, etc. There is no doubt some teams are rebuilding and other teams need to rebuild but don’t show much sign of it.

    Some Big 10 bloggers and other bloggers from God knows where have posted various things like the SEC can only win in football. They must think we will let that comment stay unchallenged. Last week we posted a synopsis of the other sports we have won National Championships in over the past few years–baseball, basketball, track, etc. We heard a caller into a station in Atlanta yesterday (we listen to these stations–Tuscaloosa, Athens, Knoxville, Morgantown, Ann Arbor, Gainesville, etc. on the Internet) say the same lies and someone else called and said they read an Internet blog posting about the other sports the SEC has won championships in…ha. Don’t know if they read our posting, but that was neat. Some people read and are informed.

  18. dmcgrann says: Oct 17, 2011 8:51 AM

    Villanova simply doesn’t meet the attendance requirements for BCS membership, which is 15,000 average attendance over a rolling two year period. Their average for 2009 and 2010 is 8,042, and its 9,305 for three home games this year, including one against Penn at Franklin Field, which, although Franklin Field is Penn’s home stadium, apparently was considered to be a Villanova home game.

    It’s sorta of hard to get to an average of 15,000 when your stadium capacity is 12,500, but I’m sure they could find somewhere else to play.

  19. helenh777 says: Oct 17, 2011 10:47 AM

    Some people should look at the records before opening mouth and inserting foot. Did you know that UCF beat Boston College. Real ACC powerhouse. The ACC only has three schools to brag about. Clemson who gave up 45 points to Maryland which was called a great comeback. Va. Tech with a 5-1 record and Ga. Tech. Oh yell they lost to Virginia!!! The Big East also has three teams with a 5-1 record. They are West Virginia, Rutgers, and Cincinnati. However, Rutgers comeback was called tragic. Are you telling me that Navy is worse than UCF or Maryland. Come on lets be fair.
    Truthfully the only conference that could brag at the moment is the SEC. Roll Tide. They are the best. However, look at the records of Kentucky and Tennessee. Wow
    I hope the Big East continues, however, if they can not I want what ever is the best for my Mountaineers. Looks like Fl. State should have kept Bobby Bowden. Now he was and is a great man. That was tragic. All because of foot in mouth problems

  20. helenh777 says: Oct 17, 2011 11:02 AM

    Just a thought, does anyone know the Temple skunked Maryland, but Maryland got 45 points on Clemson? Don’t mess with Temple till you play them.

  21. southernpatriots says: Oct 17, 2011 11:16 AM

    dmcgrann: We LSU alums and fans wish The Mountaineers the very best. You guys and gals have one of the best QBs around–Geno Smith. He can throw the ball with zip for about a mile. He can make passes at just about from any angle or halfway down to the ground…dangerous. He put up some huge numbers against us. He is setting records left and right. Of course, it not just Geno. He doesn’t catch the passes himself. He has great receivers, and an offensive line that can protect him, etc.

    We hope our schools will reschedule a field on field again. West Virginia AD has guts to schedule our alma mater in Baton Rouge. Few teams volunteer to do this, they do it because they have to (in conference teams).

    No disrespect, but you should be saying, “Geaux Tigers!” or “Allons les Tigres!” not “Roll Tide.”

    Best to The Mountaineers and fans!

  22. southernpatriots says: Oct 17, 2011 11:19 AM

    mistake, don’t have my glasses, sorry. The previous post was to:


    sorry again.

  23. ukeone says: Oct 17, 2011 12:53 PM

    This entire conference musical chairs game is getting way out of hand. The initial reason conferences were established in the first place was to keep teams within their own geographic areas. This ensured better financial control per team to participate without going broke & it gave a better playing field to all by preventing certain conferences from taking all the quality teams around the country, leaving others to nit-pick from the leftovers. That’s exactly what’s happening right now…particularly with the Big East. I agree with some of the previous comments made that the Big East is not really big in the football arena (but they are strong in basketball & perhaps they should consider their options & choose to stay with that & those other sports that make better financial sense for them). What doesn’t make sense, however, is going after teams like Boise St. & Houston to join (the Big 12 makes better sense for them…geographically speaking)….so these two should think twice about joining…Imagine the amount it would cost in round-trip travel expenses alone for these schools; and, the Big East schools attendance for football games cannot support or provide the money needed to bring these teams eastward to play (just look back to what happened to Connecticut when they went to the Fiesta bowl…they didn’t expect to go broke just to play in a BCS Bowl…and they lost the game to boot). If they did join, Big East would have to shell-out at least $1M per game to cover everything. Not worth it…..stick to basketball & the teams already in the region….that makes better sense money-wise as the Big East will ‘never’ become BCS-capable to compete with the bigger boys. Reality hurts!

  24. Deb says: Oct 17, 2011 1:47 PM

    @southernpatriots …

    Now you leave helenh777 alone!! She got it right the first time. ROLL TIDE!!! 😀

    Yes, it’s hysterical when Big 10 fans on CFT claim the national media is responsible for the SEC’s success. Clearly they don’t know much about U.S. history. The national media is as snotty and condescending toward the South as they are and would give their left arms to have another conference–any other conference–win the National Championship. :roll:

    I really don’t follow other sports, but I’m aware of the dominance of the Lady Vols, and my brother has mentioned attending other SEC sporting events at Bama. I’m not surprised the SEC is well-rounded in sports. Baseball is hugely popular in the South. And given the amount of money SEC football brings in, our schools certainly have the revenue to spend on building other athletic programs. I know our academic programs have significantly improved in the last decade. Of course, I’ve always known that no matter how the school you support is ranked, it says nothing about your personal intellect. That seems to escape some of these commenters 😉

  25. southernpatriots says: Oct 17, 2011 2:03 PM

    Deb: Ha. Wrong. If Bama had beat The Mountaineers in Tuscaloosa and then in Morgantown, she would have it right. But it was the LSU Tigers that beat The Mountaineers in Baton Rouge and in Morgantown so it should be:

    Geaux Tigers!

    Quit being so funny…”I’ve always known that no matter how the school you support is ranked, it says nothing about your personal intellect.” ha!

    Over the past 10 years LSU has averaged over 10,000 fans each game at its baseball games. That has set a national college attendance record. Of course LSU is one of the very best college baseball programs in the country, all started by the great Skip Bertman so many years ago. LSU track and now A & M track (same coach, the great coach ever in history in college track–Brad Henry) have won so many national championships that Mr. T would be embarassed to wear the medals.

    Tennesee women’s round ball–astonishing under coach Pat Summitt. Legendary! in our lifetime, the best of the best. The list is so far reaching, including gymnastics–Georgia, etc., swimming, golf, etc. so for anyone out there to say that the SEC is just good at football, it smacks of dire ignorance, stupidity or regional bigotry. In all cases, we must call them out and identify them.

  26. dmcgrann says: Oct 17, 2011 9:42 PM

    @southernpatriots – you had me going for awhile. Figured you hadn’t gone completely off your rocker, but, one never knows. :)

    But, you probably remember me saying that I married into a bunch of WVU folks. I hope you remember me saying that this year’s LSU team is about as good as one can expect.

    I like WVU a lot, but I’m not married to them. I like most of the other teams in the Big East less, and I’m not married to them, either.

    I’m a Richmond guy. I actually remember when they were ranked in the AP Top 20. I remember when they became the first team from Virginia to win a bowl game (’68 Tangerine/later Citrus/now Capital One). I’m in the FCS crowd. We go to games and have a lot of fun. We even won a National Championship in 2008.

    I’ve posted stuff about how I don’t think that Villanova is in any condition to move to the FBS. I stand by that. They don’t have the attendance and don’t seem to take football seriously ($15 for a full-priced ticket vs. $30 or more in the rest of the CAA). I stand by that. We don’t play them this year, which seems to be a shame, given Villanova’s record (1-6 as of this writing, thank God for Penn). Our record isn’t too shiny, either, but it’s not as bad.

    If it wasn’t for my WVU family members, I can’t wait for the Big East to disintegrate as a football conference – because UR and some others are ready to jump in hard for basketball.

  27. dmcgrann says: Oct 18, 2011 12:22 AM

    …and, though I hate to say it because we were handed our lunch by them a zillion times, East Carolina DESERVES to be in the Big East as currently constituted. I mean, my God, I hate “ECTC”, but they have a really good program. Hell, they are twenty years or more ahead of Villanova, and ten years ahead of Temple.

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