The question is, to which institutions and how many?
The soap opera that is the Big East continued this afternoon, with a meeting of the conference leadership and member presidents ending with “confirmation” that an unknown number of schools will be extended invitations to join the limping league. And that is all we know with any degree of certainty as the prospective members were not named in a press release issued shortly after the unanimous vote.
“Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East conference,” commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement released by the Big East. “I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for.”
While Marinatto was not naming names or numbers, it’s believed invitations are in the offing for Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members and Houston, SMU and UCF in all sports. Those invitations are expected to go out this week, with official announcements of acceptance forthcoming.
Temple, along with possibly Memphis and extreme dark-horse candidate East Carolina, could also be in the mix should West Virginia’s lawsuit be successful and they’re permitted to leave for the Big 12 in 2012.
Speaking of WVU and legal entanglements, Marinatto said he and the Big East presidents remain firm in their resolve that the Mountaineers abide by the 27-month waiting period called for in the conference’s bylaws.
“In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave,” Marinatto said. “The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations.”
UPDATED 4:30 p.m. ET: We may be inching closer to confirmation as to which teams will join the Big East. The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho State Board of Education will hold an “Athletic Conference Discussion” about Boise State during its meeting Thursday in Boise.