On the same day — and within a few hours — of a New York Times report that Missouri’s SEC application is “imminent and inevitable“, the Big East has reportedly taken a big step in trying to secure their own future in addition to maintain their status as a BCS member.
According to CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy, the Big East has indeed voted up exit fees from $5 million to $10 million. The vote was reportedly unanimous.
Big East presidents and chancellors were set to have a meeting Friday to raise exit fees, that according to the Sporting News. Instead, the conference supposedly decided to send invitations of membership to Boise State, Air Force, Navy and UCF; Temple, Houston and SMU were also considered.
But a mixed set or reports over the weekend about exactly which schools the Big East was eyeing combined with reports of feelings of reservation from Navy and Boise State led to one big question mark for the conference. Friday night, the Mountain West and Conference USA announced an alliance between the two conferences in football, leading to speculation as to whether some programs like Boise State would actually bolt for the Big East.
Big East bylaws state, however, that the conference must wait 72 hours after agreeing to send invites before they can officially be sent. That would mean those invites should have come today, Monday, but word spread earlier that Big East basketball media day could delay that process.
At any rate of invitation, it was believed that schools like Boise State and Navy wanted to see the Big East invest a greater amount into the financial security of the conference before accepting an invite. Now that the Big East has a set amount vote upon unanimously, there could be less hesitation from either institution about joining.
An official teleconference held by Big East commissioner John Marinatto is set for tomorrow to discuss conference matters. Reports are already surfacing that Houston has received an invite from the Big East.
For Louisville and West Virginia, the two schools reportedly on very short list in the even of further Big 12 expansion, the decision to vote for raised exit fees shows their commitment to rebuilding the conference, not necessarily their commitment to the conference. If the Big 12 comes calling, even $10 million in exit fees might not be enough to keep either of them around. Other programs have left much better situations for roughly the same amount.