After a couple months or so of flirting with the idea of expansion, it sounds like the Big East is finally going to add five schools to its seemingly ever-diminishing group.
Last night, the Newark Star-Ledger was one of many news outlets to report that the Big East was on the verge of adding Boise State and San Diego State for football only and SMU, Central Florida and Houston as all-sports members. Of course, swift action hasn’t exactly been the route Big East commissioner John Marinatto has taken; not to mention, those five aforementioned programs, along with Navy and Air Force, have been in the Big East expansion discussion for a while now.
But this time it feels like it’s for real. We promise.
Okay, we don’t promise. We hope, though.
The Star-Ledger and CBS Sports‘ Brett McMurphy are confirming that the Big East will add the five schools as either football-only or full members, bringing the football side of the conference to 10 members and the basketball side back to 16. The official announcement is reportedly set for Wednesday.
The goal is to have all the members available to compete in the new conference by 2013.
The main absences? No Air Force and no Navy. The two military academies were part of the original targets by the Big East, but talks had hit snags in recent months because of concerns over conference stability and exit fees.
BYU was also part of the expansion discussion, but complications with the school’s TV contract with ESPN and BYUtv eventually halted those discussions. That would eventually allow San Diego State — the biggest and most eastern of all the Big East candidates — to emerge in the Big East expansion discussion.
The conference, meanwhile, is still dealing with its lawsuit with West Virginia, who plans to join the Big 12 by July, 2012. The two sides have filed motions to dismiss each other’s lawsuits, with the Big East’s official motion coming yesterday, as expected.