Athletic Directors vote to expand Big East conference

Since the departure of Pittsburgh and Syracuse on Sept. 18, the Big East Conference is already looking to expand its number of schools.

The Big East announced on Sunday that its council of presidents unanimously voted commissioner John Marinatto to “aggressively pursue” expansion.

In Sunday’s meeting at Georgetown University, members of the 14 remaining Big East schools and Texas Christian University, who is scheduled to join the conference next year, were supposed to discuss the conference’s upcoming television rights negotiations, but the topic of expansion also arose.

After the five-hour meeting, Marinatto did not disclose when schools would be added or how many at that, according to USA Today.com.

After losing two of its cornerstone programs to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East only has seven universities with a football team.

An ESPN.com article added that the Big East “needs to add at least one to remain a football conference under NCAA rules.”

According to that same ESPN.com source, “a number of schools were discussed, including Navy, Army, Air Force, Temple, Central Florida and a new name in SMU, which would be a natural rival with TCU if the Horned Frogs honor the commitment to join the conference in 2012-13. All of these schools except Army and Navy would join the Big East for all sports.”

It was reported on Wednesday by the Philadelphia Daily News that Temple has already notified the Big East that it wants to become an all-sport member or at the very least a football only member of the conference.

For most college sports fans, however, the question isn’t what universities will be added, but rather what other Big East schools will leave the conference.

ESPN.com’s senior writer Andy Katz reported, “Connecticut still would rather be in the ACC than stay in the Big East if given the choice, a source said.”

ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com that the ACC is content with 14 teams, but not opposed to having 16.

“The ACC would likely want to add Notre Dame and then Connecticut as a 16th school if it were to add two more schools,” ESPN.com reported.

However, a Notre Dame source told ESPN.com that the school wants to continue as an independent football program as well as a member of the Big East.

At this point it seems that the Big East will stay together as a conference even if it does not keep the same prestige that it has had in past years.

Krissy Wrobel can be reached at wrobelkr@shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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