It's new day and yet another new Big East conference expansion scenario.
On a scheduled conference call this morning between the Big East Presidents and Athletic Directors, the Big East Conference was given the authorization to formally begin discussions with schools to increase the conference's number of football-playing schools to 12.The conference commissioner John Marinatto announced the move in a statement after hosting a teleconference between the presidents and chancellors.
"On a teleconference earlier today, our Presidents and Chancellors authorized the BIG EAST Conference to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools."
The Big East is now considering adding six more football-playing schools to get to 12 in the wake of three departures that have hit the league in the last month. Pitt and Syracuse announced last month they were leaving for the ACC, and TCU who was supposed to join the conference is expected to accept an invitation from the Big 12 as early as today.
There has been no mention on what specific schools that the conference will be looking to add, but Navy, Air Force, and Army have been mentioned as top targets, with Central Florida, East Carolina, Temple, Villanova also being likely candidates. Programs such as Memphis and Houston, Boise State, BYU, and SMU are also names that have been thrown out.
UCF and ECU have both made it clear that they would like to be in the Big East and have applied for memberships.
Air Force has also expressed interest in joining the Big East in a Denver Post report, with Air Force Athletic Director Hans Mueh telling the Post, "Our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say. This stuff is moving fast."
For the time being the Big East must be sure it can hold onto its six remaining members and much of that has to do with what happens with Missouri and the BIG12/SEC, and how it will impact the BIG EAST. Missouri is considering leaving the Big 12 for the SEC which only has 13 members and Louisville and West Virginia have been named as candidates. Right now the BIG 12 is waiting to see if Missouri stays and if they have to add another school and the ripple effect that would cause.