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Report: Big East still deciding among three schools for membership

Mike Aresco AP

This much is true about Big East expansion: the conference is looking to acquire a 14th team. That’s been the case for a while. Which program will be that 14th team — or, if the Big East goes even bigger in size — is still to be determined. According to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, the list of potential additions boils down to three: Air Force, Army and BYU (all as football-only members).

Who joins (or how many) could come down to what it almost always does: money. The Big East is currently in the middle of a 90-day exclusive negotiating window with ESPN regarding the conference’s new TV deal. That agreement could reportedly worth between $60 million and $130 million. Breaking it down more, that could mean between $3 million and $6.5 million for football-only members, and $4 million and $8.7 million for all-sports members.

The Big East could also look to add all three and move the conference to 16 members instead of 14 (Navy joins as the Big East’s 13th football member in 2015). It all depends on the payout the league can get it. If the Big East can’t strike a deal with ESPN by Nov. 1, it can move to negotiations with other media companies such as NBC/Comcast and FOX. Keep in mind that new Big East commissioner Mike Aresco (pictured) has a background in television from his time with CBS.

The interesting part of all of this is that Air Force, Army and BYU have all been approached by the Big East before and have all declined membership for various reasons. Air Force has pledged its allegiance to the Mountain West and BYU has an eight-year TV deal with ESPN worth $4 million a year, per McMurphy. That independent TV deal also allows BYU to keep BYUtv, which would be a negotiating hurdle if the Cougars were to join the Big East as a football-only member.

But all of that was when the Big East’s future was in flux; that’s not the case now.

With a new commissioner that’s more TV savvy, the Big East could grab a higher annual payout for its members when it expands even though the league will already have a championship game in place by the time it adds (at least) a 14th member. Will it be enough to entice one or more of the Big East’s targets to join? That’s the question.

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23 Responses to “Report: Big East still deciding among three schools for membership”
  1. roundup5 says: Sep 19, 2012 12:09 PM

    Let’s quit referring to them as “Big” East! There is nothing
    big about them.

  2. jakpsu1 says: Sep 19, 2012 12:17 PM

    BYU is the only one that makes sense. They’d bring a strong fan base, and a decent viewing market in Salt Lake City. Sorry but Army and AF don’t bring much in regards to money, and at the center of this whole expansion is money.

  3. ancientcougar says: Sep 19, 2012 12:20 PM

    BYU is a natural and complements Boise geographically.

  4. spydey629 says: Sep 19, 2012 1:00 PM

    @Roundup – You’ve got it backward…

    There is nothing “East” about a football league that stretches from Piscataway, NJ to San Diego, CA.

    However a league that stretches that far IS big!

  5. timh1955 says: Sep 19, 2012 1:01 PM

    I guess they don’t realize that no one cares about any of the current or future teams in the Little East. It’s a totally worthless football conference!

  6. deadeye says: Sep 19, 2012 1:02 PM

    How about naming it the “not-so-Big not-so-East” conference.

    In all seriousness, this concept has already been tried. The first time around it was the Metro Conference, and the outcome here will be the same.

  7. normtide says: Sep 19, 2012 1:14 PM

    They need a commissioner with a background in illusion if they want to get a nice tv contract. Also, Louisville and uconn would jump to the first decent league that offered. Boise should have stayed with the mwc, less travel and the mwc is a better league imo. Not to mention that the big east has been shuffled out of the top bowls already.

  8. barbeaux says: Sep 19, 2012 1:23 PM

    Wait wait wait….there’s a “Big East” conference?

  9. mhalt99 says: Sep 19, 2012 1:40 PM

    Army, Navy & Air Force in the same conference = I would not want to the person keeping that conference from a seat at the big boys table, especially if one of the three won it.

    “I’m sorry Navy (or AF or Army), I know that you won you conference and are ranked somewhat high….but we just don’t think you deserve to be in the Orange/Rose/Fiesta/Sugar….have you any discussions with the Stagg Bowl?”………yeah….think that wouldn’t go over so well.

  10. whoisedgy says: Sep 19, 2012 3:04 PM

    Name one major market that the Big East would dominate with football viewers…

    Cincinnati? Buckeye country
    Louisville? SEC
    Temple? <25,000 people show up, Eagles
    USF, UCF? The U, FSU, Florida
    San Diego State? USC, UCLA
    Boise? PAC 12
    Rutgers, Connecticut? NY Giants, NY Jets, ND

    Sorry guys…doesn't work. They may get a contract, but no one will be watching. NHL got a contract with NBC and still no one watches.

  11. mhalt99 says: Sep 19, 2012 4:07 PM

    whoisedgy says:

    I’d say the one thing you are overlooking is that if an SEC game is at 52-0 than a close mac or big east game may be more enjoyable to watch for anyone outside of the school laying the beat down.

    Overall, only so much quality inventory out there – it may not be pepsi,coke, or dr pepper but when you’re thirsty enough even a store brand dr. thunder or mountain mist sure tastes good.

  12. scalpemseminoles says: Sep 19, 2012 4:53 PM

    I’m sure my local high school would be a competitive fit for the big 12.

  13. lbijake says: Sep 19, 2012 6:06 PM



    You may have forgotten the Temple Owls are now members of the Big East. The Owls, even though they have never won the MAC or beaten a MAC team that finished with a winning record, should be worth,$60 mil by themselves. The rest is gravy.

  14. whoisedgy says: Sep 19, 2012 6:16 PM


    There is a glut of inventory, that’s my point. With SEC, Big 12, PAC 12, and Big Ten on all the time, there won’t be much left for Big East.

    Don’t forget:

    Houston? NFL, Texas A & M
    SMU? Cowboys, UT

    Nothing left.

  15. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 19, 2012 7:04 PM

    Adding Army and Air Force to the Big East makes great sense.

    First, they have more alumni should you actually count vets.

    Second, both have a huge hammer in being part of the Federal government. You want to be the TV executive that has to say we won’t negotiate with the Big East because they aren’t attractive enough with the service academies in a BCS conference? I could see the House and Senate committees holding hearings about why the service academies don’t deserve an opportunity to play for AQ berth? You really want to be that executive?

    Third. It guarantees the Big East will survive as a super conference. Can you
    say Sherman Anti-Trust Act? All the networks and the NCAA don’t want the Feds telling them how to run the playoffs and the pending super conferences.

    Fourth, It makes the NCAA look generous to the mid majors by having a AQ
    bid for a mid major super conference.

    Fifth, the Big 12 is in big trouble. The PAC -12 and the B1G have the households to support their TV markets. The Big 12 doesn’t. Should the
    Big East add Army, Air Force and BYU, that gives the ACC 15 teams (1 slot)
    the SEC(2 slots) and the Big East (16 teams), that leaves ONE super conference to develop among the PAC-12, the B1G, and the Big 12 guess who loses?, Yep, the Big 12. Say OU/OSU go to the SEC, 16 teams, second Super
    conference. Texas goes to the ACC, 16 teams, Third super conference.
    Kansas, KSU, Iowa St, and WVU to the B1G, Fourth super conference.

    Mo’ money mo’ money, mo’ money.

    PAC-12 will be fine.

    Tech, Baylor, TCU are on the outside looking in.

  16. giablommi says: Sep 19, 2012 8:06 PM

    “You may have forgotten the Temple Owls are now members of the Big East. The Owls, even though they have never won the MAC or beaten a MAC team that finished with a winning record, should be worth,$60 mil by themselves. The rest is gravy.”
    If I’m not mistaken beat MAC teams that ended with a .500 record (or one game under .500) on multiple occasions.
    If they had lost those teams would be able to claim a winning record.
    Failed argument.
    Try again.

  17. timh1955 says: Sep 19, 2012 8:10 PM

    Your third point that the Big East would survive as a super conference is joke isn’t it? They have not and never will be anything more than a glorified MWC or WAC conference that has very little impact on college football. The BE is a last resort for teams that want to act like they are playing big boy football but they aren’t. The football schools in that conference are there because none of the good conferences wanted them.

    Your fourth point about being an AQ school means nothing as the AQ status ends in 2014. If it didn’t end the Big East would have lost their AQ status at the end of 2013 as everyone knows it should not be a conference equal to the major conferences.

  18. lbijake says: Sep 19, 2012 9:32 PM

    @giablommi says:

    If I’m not mistaken beat MAC teams that ended with a .500 record (or one game under .500) on multiple occasions.
    If they had lost those teams would be able to claim a winning record.
    Failed argument.
    Try again.
    —————————————————-Dear Sir, Name one MAC team that Temple beat and what year that “ended” with a winning record, and I will concede the point. This fact was given by Rich Kern of the Philly Daily News.

  19. giablommi says: Sep 19, 2012 11:37 PM

    @ lbijake

    No thanks, I don’t care as much as you Big East haters apparently do.

  20. dmcgrann says: Sep 20, 2012 12:13 AM

    Hey, how’s that Villanova football move-up working for the Big East? Haven’t heard much about that for a while.

  21. normtide says: Sep 20, 2012 8:33 AM

    The word hater is used way to often as a crutch. Big east football is not top tier, that is a fact, not people being jealous or “hating”. What reason would one have to hate the big east? I like the cubs, but if someone says the cubs suck, they make a point I can not refute. In fact, people hate on teams that are good, never really on teams or leagues that are no threat.

  22. uconndog says: Sep 20, 2012 9:28 AM

    Comparing D-1 football to Corporate Stock the SEC, B1G, PAC12 & Big12 are Blue Chip’s while the Big East could be categorized as emerging growth stock. The TV contracts and bowl games serve as the exchanges. The new exchange in town which will recognize the potential and franchise value of the The Big East is NBC sports. The exsisting teams and new editions consist of some of the most exciting and fast growing programs in the nation in Boise State, USF, UCF, UCONN. Also factored in would be the reemergence of Houston, SMU, Temple, Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati. Add to those programs that will be refueled by TV money and exposure in San Diego State and Memphis and you have a highly marketable GROWTH product. The potential of adding Air Force or BYU will further enhance the new Big East. Yes the New Big East is different but it is also going to have a tone of exposure and more $$. Google, Microsoft and Apple didn’t exist 30 years ago but I sure wish I had more of their stock! I agree with Mike Aresco, coupled with the best basketball league in the USA, this emerging football conference will be a success.

  23. azs77 says: Oct 9, 2012 12:03 AM

    I don’t get it. If they’re going to expand, why not Nevada?! They have a top 40 program most years and a top 25 program many years. They are perfectly located to play Boise St. and San Diego St, and they even bring 2 big media markets: Reno and Las Vegas. Why not Nevada?

    This whole nonsensical Big East ridiculousness could be avoided if the Pac 12 would man up and invite Boise St. and BYU (or maybe Nevada since they don’t like religious schools). Now that would make sense. Those are great football brands with real followings that make sense. Who doesn’t wanna see USC and Stanford mixing it up with Boise St. and BYU (or Nevada)?

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