UPDATED 5:35 p.m. ET: Brett McMurphy has updated his original story to say that Memphis has accepted an invitation to join the Big East in 2013 in all sports. The school has announced a press conference for Wednesday. Wonder what that could be?
Well, it’s certainly not the SEC, but you have to have a backup plan, right?
Long rumored to be a potential candidate for the Big East in expansion, a new report now has Memphis and the Big East coming close to making it all but official. CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy, one of the go-to guys for all things realignment and the Big East, reports that Memphis and the Big East are in “the final stages of negotiation” to make the Tigers a full-sport member as soon as 2013.
Memphis would join Houston, SMU and Central Florida as the other Conference USA members to be plucked by the Big East in the latest round of realignment if McMurphy’s report indeed comes to fruition. Other members to come aboard are Boise State and San Diego State in 2013, and Navy in 2015; the latter three would be football-only members.
The news of Navy and now Memphis joining the Big East — it should be noted, of course, that neither the Big East nor Memphis has yet to comment on the report — comes as West Virginia appears to be leaving the Big East this year and joining the Big 12, as evident by the Mountaineers dropping Florida State, an extra non-conference game, off the 2012 schedule. The Big 12’s schedule has yet to be made public, but word is already beginning to circulate that WVU will take over Missouri’s schedule.
If WVU is able to leave for the Big 12 this year, that would open up the door for Pitt and Syracuse to bolt for the ACC before the 27-month waiting period ends. McMurphy reports, though, that the two current Big East schools would likely negotiate a 2013 exit. If that ends up being the case, the Big East would have 11 football members in 2013.
As it is with most realignment news, there are a lot of moving parts that usually take longer to complete than at the rate they’re reported. The Memphis addition, if true, would make sense. Big East commissioner John Marinatto has stated previously that the ultimate goal for Big East football is to get to 12 members and have a conference championship game, even as the conference is in the middle of losing three of its members.