The move by Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten started up another round of realignment rumors. Most, as usual, are complete malarkey. However, one that emerged Tuesday morning caught just about everyone off guard. And it’s apparently as legit as it is hilarious.
Per multiple reports including WaveReport.com, ESPN, CBS, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Tulane will join the Big East in all sports. A press conference — reportedly for a formal announcement — is set for 2 p.m. ET. The university has yet to confirm or deny any realignment reports, but the press conference would be the response.
The AP and ESPN are also reporting that East Carolina (finally, y’all!!!!!) will join as a football-only member in 2014. A press conference for ECU is set for later this afternoon.
The Big East recently lost Rutgers to the Big Ten as part of the latest round of expansion. Maryland also joined the Big Ten from the ACC. Louisville and UConn are among the programs connected to the ACC through the rumor mill.
Boise State, San Diego State, Memphis, UCF, Houston and SMU are supposed to join the Big East in 2013 with Navy joining in 2015. That means in 2014, nine of the Big East’s members will have formerly resided in Conference USA.
More coming once — if — this becomes official.
Updated 2:00 p.m. ET: As expected, Tulane has joined the Big East as a full member. The Green Wave will move from Conference USA in the 2014-15 academic year. That’s the same year Tulane is expected to complete a 30,000-seat on-campus stadium.
“I am pleased and excited to welcome Tulane University to the BIG EAST Conference,” said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco in a statement. “Tulane University is an outstanding academic institution and is committed to excellence in athletics. They will be a valued member of the BIG EAST.”
“Tulane University is pleased to accept membership in the BIG EAST Conference,” said Tulane President Scott Cowen. “The BIG EAST is a distinguished collection of institutions that will be a wonderful home for Tulane. We look forward to our mutual association and we are delighted to welcome the BIG EAST to the Big Easy!”
“We are very excited to welcome East Carolina University into the BIG EAST Conference for football,” said Aresco. “They have a strong football tradition and a consistently successful program that will help elevate our football league. The University is an outstanding academic institution that reflects the values important to the BIG EAST Conference.”
“ECU is excited to become a football member of the BIG EAST Conference,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard. “We know we will be successful and add value to the BIG EAST. While hundreds of dedicated Pirates have contributed to this day, I especially want to recognize the relentless energy of Terry Holland and Nick Floyd in making this day a reality. It is a great day to be a Pirate.”
Conference USA also issued a statement this afternoon:
“We thank East Carolina and charter member Tulane for all their contributions to the league and wish them well. These are unprecedented times in higher education. Notwithstanding the changes, we are excited about our future and we remain committed to our strategic plan – a major market, two-division conference that is student-athlete friendly.
“To be clear, we have several options but no new member agreements have made at this time. We appreciate the support of our members and will immediately begin a presidentially led process to evaluate our future options.”