NEW YORK (AP) — As the Big East tries to figure out a survival strategy, the Pac-12 is nearing a decision on whether it wants to stretch farther east.
Big East football school officials will meet Tuesday night in New York City to discuss the league's future, and a Pac-12 official expects conference presidents in that league to decide by the end of the week if they want to expand again.
Three people with knowledge of the Big East meeting told The Associated Press that presidents and athletic directors from the conference's six remaining football members, along with officials from TCU, which is slated to join in 2012, will meet with Commissioner John Marinatto. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the meeting, which was first reported by USA Today.
The future of the Big East could be tied to the future of the Big 12.
Both universities' board of regents voted Monday to give their presidents the right to choose a new conference. And Oklahoma State's regents have scheduled a special meeting Wednesday afternoon about conference realignment.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren has said the two in-state rivals will remain in the same league whether they decide to stay in the Big 12 or join the Pac-12.
"Whatever we do, we're going to do it together, and I think that's very good news for the state of Oklahoma," Boren said.
Should the Oklahoma schools decide to leave — and the Pac-12 agrees to take them — it could be the death knell for the Big 12, which already lost Nebraska and Colorado last summer and will lose Texas A&M if the Aggies are able to resolve legal issues that have their planned move to the Southeastern Conference on hold.
The Pac-12 official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because the league has not revealed its plans, said the presidents probably would need near agreement across the board to agree to expand.
Texas officials have said they're not interested in remaining in a Big 12 stripped of those other programs. That would leave only five schools — Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri — remaining in the league that once had 12 teams.
Officials from those five schools have been in contact with the remaining Big East members about the possibility of merging to create one conference.
But the Big East might be facing more defections.
UConn President Susan Herbst said no formal application has been filed with any conference, and the school has not ruled out staying in a reconstituted Big East. But she said she's receiving inquiries from across the country as the school considers which conference might make the best fit.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford has said his league is comfortable with 14 members, which it will have when Pitt and Syracuse join, but it is not "philosophically" opposed to expanding to 16.
Adding UConn and possibly Rutgers, located in New Jersey, would allow the ACC to further extend its reach into the Northeast and New York City television market.
Marinatto told The New York Times on Monday night that he plans to force Pittsburgh and Syracuse to stay in the Big East until the 2014-15 academic year.