The Big East’s presidents and chancellors voted unanimously Monday night to increase the league’s exit fee to $10 million, but the increased fee is contingent on Navy and Air Force joining the league as football only members, sources told CBSSports.com.
The increase in exit fees from $5 million to $10 million is expected to increase the probability of adding Navy and Air Force as football-only members. Both schools are receptive to joining the Big East, but wanted a bigger financial commitment from the remaining members (Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia).
Sources with knowledge of Monday's teleconference also said that there is no timetable to issue invitations. The Big East previously had indicated a desire to get to 12 football members after losing TCU to the Big 12 and Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC.
Less than an hour before the Big East’s presidents and chancellors held their teleconference Monday night with Commissioner John Marinatto, the New York Times reported Missouri’s departure from the Big 12 to the SEC was “inevitable and imminent.”
That development would have a significant impact on the league, specifically Big East members Louisville and West Virginia, who sources have told CBSSports.com are prime candidates to receive a Big 12 invitation if Missouri left. However, all of the Big East’s 14 members still voted unanimously for the increased exit fee Monday night.
Besides Navy and Air Force, the Big East also has had conversations with Boise State about becoming a football-only member and with UCF about joining as an all sports member.
As of Saturday, the Big East “felt confident about their discussions with Boise State,” a college football industry source told CBSSports.com.
“That’s the most important factor, the stability of the core membership,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday night.
Gladchuk said that the possibility of adding Boise State was significant in Navy’s decision making process. “Absolutely,” Gladchuk said. “Anything that helps stabilize the Big East’s automatic BCS berth.”
Boise State president Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman Saturday the Broncos have notified the Mountain West Conference that it is definitely staying or leaving the league.
“If by some strange chance somebody came to us and said we’d like to invite you to join our conference, I’d have to say, ‘Well, you’ll have to give us time to do our due diligence and really spend the time on it.’ We’re not ready,” Kustra told the Statesman. “I have no idea how fast or slow this whole process is going to move.”
Last week Boise State coach Chris Petersen said he was not concerned about the extra travel that would be required by competing in the Big East.
“For us, it’s not that big of a deal (with) how we travel,” Petersen told the Statesman. “You get on a plane, you charter. You’re in and out. You’re on a plane four hours instead of two. Whatever. All that’s doable.
“Do all the other things make sense? And I think that, don’t kid yourself, these guys (Kustra and interim athletic director Curt Apsey) are all over it. They’re analyzing everything.”
UCF is ready to join the Big East, multiple sources told CBSSports.com, and is just awaiting an official invitation to the league.
UCF officials met with Marinatto and other Big East representatives Friday in Cincinnati. “We were very impressed with them,” a league source said. “It went well. I can’t imagine it dragging out too long with them.”The league also is targeting Houston and SMU as potential all-sports members to get to 12 football members. If the Big East lost any schools to the Big 12 or other conferences, the next likely candidates the Big East would pursue would be Temple and East Carolina.