Searching for Six More

The latest survival plan for the Big East Conference was announced Monday and calls for the pursuit of six more football-playing schools.

With TCU now moving into the Big 12 – before the Horned Frogs ever play a game in the Big East – a teleconference call was held to determine a new league model for the Big East.

The conference released the following statement: "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."

And after TCU's move was made official, commissioner John Marinatto released this statement:

"Although never having competed as a member of the BIG EAST Conference, we are disappointed with the news that TCU is joining the Big 12. As noted earlier today, our presidents met via teleconference this morning to focus on the future and have authorized us to engage in formal expansion discussions with additional institutions. We anticipate taking action in the near future."

With Pittsburgh and Syracuse announcing last month that they are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East is left with six football-playing schools without TCU: Connecticut, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, South Florida and Louisville.

Marinatto previously was authorized to expand the football conference and Air Force and Navy have been reported the top targets – for football only. The Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday that Boise State has also been discussed.

The Star-Ledger report went on to say that two other schools could be added in all sports. Temple, Central Florida and East Carolina would be considered for those two positions, bringing the conference to 11 members in football and restoring the 16 total in basketball. If Villanova then upgraded to the Football Bowl Subdivision, the Wildcats could be added to give the Big East 12 football teams.

Of course, there is no certainty that the six remaining football schools will stay in the Big East. The next piece in the puzzle could come later this week when Missouri is expected to reach a decision regarding its position within the Big 12. That could impact UConn and other football-playing schools across the country.

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