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Big East confirms upped exit fees, no invites sent yet

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With speculative reporting bouncing off every corner of the Internet the past week or so, the Big East held a teleconference Tuesday afternoon to address potential expansion in the conference.

After a half hour of listening to commissioner John Marinatto answer questions, however, we don’t really know much more than we did coming in, other than listening to the piano version of “Winding Road” while waiting on hold for the call to start makes one seriously contemplate jamming an uncapped Sharpie into one or both ears.

Arguably the biggest news to come out of Marinatto’s half hour with the media involved invitations to potential members.  Specifically, Marinatto said that, contrary to multiple reports — including one last night involving Houston — no official invitations have been sent to any potential members.  That official stance buttresses a New York Post report over the weekend that no invitations will be sent until after the conference’s basketball media days, which will be held Wednesday.  The conference’s concern, and something which Marinatto alluded to during the teleconference, is that the expansion talk will overshadow the bedrock sport of the league.

Marinatto also confirmed reports from Monday night that the conference had unanimously voted to raise the exit fees from its current number of $5 million to $10 million.  The one caveat is that the increase in exit fee will be triggered as progress is made in signing new members.

“This development is a significant step forward, as well as a positive demonstration and acknowledgement of the continued benefits of being in the Big East Conference,” said Marinatto in a statement. “It sends a message to those institutions we are talking to about joining us. In addition, our members have given us their support to move towards a 12-team football model. Each of our member schools is behind this effort, and we are confident we can achieve it.  We hope to have an announcement soon concerning new members.”

On at least two occasions, Marinatto addressed questions concerning the timing of Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East for the ACC.  Current conference bylaws state that schools must wait 27 months after notifying the league of its intentions before moving to another league.  Marinatto said both schools will be held to that timeline, even if the conference gets to the 12 members the current expansion plan calls for.  Such a timeline would mean neither school would be able to join their conference until the 2014-2015 academic year.

Finally, Marinatto confirmed that the Big East has undertaken preliminary discussions with several schools regarding potential membership, although he refused to get into any specific names.  In addition to Houston, it’s believed that invitations are forthcoming for UCF and SMU in all sports, and Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members.

Despite Marinatto’s reticence to specifically address which schools are under consideration, it’s believed all six schools mentioned above will receive invitations to join the conference before the end of the work week.

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9 Responses to “Big East confirms upped exit fees, no invites sent yet”
  1. mondzy805 says: Oct 18, 2011 3:04 PM

    The Big East, better stick to Basketball.

  2. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Oct 18, 2011 3:11 PM

    Arguably, the most over used word in college football is “arguably.”

  3. steelerchicken says: Oct 18, 2011 4:44 PM

    Why is Marinatto not letting Pitt and Syracuse leave right away? Stop being a bitter man!

  4. lbijake says: Oct 18, 2011 6:46 PM

    They better hurry up as Temple is weighing offers from the ACC, SEC and NFL.

  5. mogogo1 says: Oct 18, 2011 7:38 PM

    Raising the exit fee is pure desperation and will backfire. That isn’t going to help bring in new schools to the conference–it will scare them away as they worry about being stuck if they ever decide they want out.

    The other problem is the higher fee still probably wouldn’t keep a school from leaving if they had a better offer. Let’s say some other major conference REALLY wanted a Big East school. Absolutely nothing would prohibit them from helping the school pay all or part of the exit fee. It’s easy to imagine the ACC or any other conference offering a zero interest loan to a Big East school that could be paid back over several years out of their share of TV revenue.

  6. digit960 says: Oct 18, 2011 9:58 PM

    Amazing that the Big East is offering SMU over ECU

  7. fcmlefty1 says: Oct 19, 2011 9:43 AM

    “Amazing that the Big East is offering SMU over ECU”

    Dallas is slightly bigger than Greenville. That might have something to do with it…..

  8. bbeaman78 says: Oct 19, 2011 11:47 AM

    That is funny….Temple weighing offers from the ACC and SEC… That is as funny as San Diego State stating their case to be a BIG 12 member.

    This is like lipstick on a pig. You can put lipstick on a pig to make it look prettier, but it is still a pig.

    After Missouri bolts on Friday from the BIG 12 then look for the BIG 12 to add BYU, WVU, and Louisville to get back to 12.

    The exit fee will stay at $5 million since the conference will be losing teams not adding them. Bye bye Big East and bye bye AQ status!

  9. digit960 says: Oct 19, 2011 12:00 PM


    Tell that to the 5K fans that show up to see SMU any given Saturday. I guess that’s big enough.

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