Big East Ready to Expand

The Big East took major steps today toward ensuring its automatic qualifying bid with the addition of multiple football schools. has the expansion details on who is going where and what it means for Rutgers.

The Conference USA and Mountain West merger talks today did not stop the Big East from taking its biggest step toward expanding its football national presence in the wake of Syracuse and Pittsburgh leaving the conference.

Boise State and Air Force will be invited to join the conference for football only, according to sources, and Central Florida will be invited to join for all sports. Navy, which also will receive an invitation, is another football only option in the expansion talks.

Temple sits behind Navy as a football-only option. Because of Villanova's presence in the Philadelphia market, Temple would not be an all-sport move to the Big East, sources said.

Southern Methodist and Houston remain in the picture, either for football or all sports, if the Big East aims to break into eastern and western divisions.

The final piece of conference news, in the Big East's most proactive day since Syracuse and Pittsburgh caught the conference by surprise, is that the exit fee for the conference goes up from $5 million to $10 million.

All unofficial so far, but an announcement from the conference and more details could come possibly at Wednesday's media day.

Something would have to change between tonight and next week for any of the schools in to back out.

What it Means for Rutgers

If the schools (particularly Boise State) join the Big East, it would mean the conference would no longer face a major threat of losing a BCS auto-qualifier. With schools potentially coming next year, the team does not have to worry about securing the home game lost by TCU's departure to the Big 12.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti's statements about doing what is best for Rutgers still hold true, despite the Big East's expansion.

The cost, however, is now twice as much should the ACC or Big Ten come calling.

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