Presidents Unanimously Vote to Extend Invites

PHILADELPHIA — The Big East voted unanimously to extend invitations for both football only and complete membership in the conference today at a meeting. With all 13 schools in attendance, commissioner John Marinatto spoke with the media about various details of the meeting. Though he declined to comment on many specifics, has the latest.

PHILADELPHIA — In the wake of losing three schools to other conferences, the Big East presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific schools for both football-only membership and complete membership.

Commissioner John Marinatto, speaking with the media at the conclusion of the media, declined to comment on specific schools, but said a timeframe of one week is realistic for the invitations to go out.

"As we've learned over the last two months, don't believe anything anybody tells you," Marinatto said. "Nothing's done until it's over. I'm obviously being very cautious, so I'm reluctant to say names of schools or anything because nothing is ever over until it's over."

Air Force, Navy and Boise State are expected to receive invitations this week for football-only membership and SMU, Houston and UCF for all sports, sources told

"Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference," Marinatto said. "I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for."

The current goal for expansion is 12 football teams, Marinatto said, but did not rule out further expansion. Marinatto confirmed the league's interest in both East and West divisions and an eventual championship game.

"Twelve is the number that provides us, on the football side, the ability to create a championship game, plus what we think is a very creative and new way moving forward with regard to flexibility, this Western division we are contemplating," he said. "Twelve is a good number that works and I think it works on both sides."

Marinatto said the departure of West Virginia did not surprise him, but the lawsuit filed against the conference did. Despite the lawsuit, however, the Big East plans to hold West Virginia, along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh, until the 2014 football season.

"I, quite frankly, was stunned when I heard the news that they were filing a lawsuit," Marinatto said. "I couldn't understand under what grounds, but our attorneys have asked me not to comment specifically about all the issues."

In light of West Virginia's departure Friday, Marinatto said a potential replacement was not discussed at today's meeting, but that it will be addressed soon.

Potential replacements include BYU and Temple for football only.

"We didn't get into the discussion of specifically replacing West Virginia," Marinatto said. "We just had the discussion basically of what we've been discussing over the past three weeks and to get that reaffirmed."

Stay tuned for for more updates on the ever-changing Big East, with invitations and acceptances expected to go out as early as this week.

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