Blog Entry

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 7:57 pm

Nationally ranked Boise State and Houston along with SMU and UCF could be added as Big East members by Friday, college football industry sources told

On Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Big East’s presidents and chancellors authorized league commissioner John Marinatto to issue invitations to those schools – along with Navy and Air Force – sources said. 

However, Boise State, Houston, SMU and UCF prefer to be announced as league members together and must wait until Boise State’s board meeting on Thursday. There have been no “official invitations” extended to the schools, but Marinatto has been in constant contact and spoke to representatives of all six schools after Tuesday’s meeting.

Boise State would join as a football-only member, while UCF, SMU and Houston would join as all-sport members beginning in 2013. 

Following Tuesday's Big East meeting in Philadelphia, representatives from those four schools – plus Navy – held a conference call. All four schools are “100 percent” on board in joining together with the only possible hang-up being Boise State finding a conference home for its Olympic sports – most likely the WAC or West Coast Conference.

Navy has told the other schools on Tuesday's call it “is definitely in” and Air Force is expected to join once Navy commits to the Big East, a source said. 

On Oct. 23 in Washington D.C. Marinatto met with representatives from Boise State, Houston, SMU, Navy and UCF. Since then representatives from the general counsels at Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU have been working together in concert to negotiate several details, including entrance and exit fees upon joining the Big East.

TCU’s entrance fee to join the Big East was $2.5 million and the new members’ entrance fee is expected to be the same. However, the schools actually don’t pay that amount up front – it’s usually taken out of league revenues over a five-year period.

The addition of those four schools will help offset the recent announced departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12.

TCU, which left the Big East before ever playing in the league, will join the Big 12 next season. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia can not leave before July 1, 2014. However, West Virginia filed a lawsuit against the Big East on Monday so that the Mountaineers could join the Big 12 next year and would not have to honor the league’s 27-month requirement before leaving.

The league’s presidents and chancellors discussed West Virginia’s lawsuit during Tuesday’s meeting in Philadelphia.

“In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave,” Marinatto said in a statement. “The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations.”

Bringing Boise State on board would help the Big East’s bid to retain status as an automatic qualifying BCS conference, when the new cycle begins in 2014. Since 2006, the Broncos are 68-5 with two undefeated seasons. Boise State (7-0) is ranked No. 5 in this week’s BCS standings, while Houston (7-0) is No. 13.

The addition of Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Navy and Air Force would give the Big East 11 football schools in 2014. The Western contingent of schools also is pushing to bring BYU in as the Big East’s 12th-football playing member. If the Cougars, who are currently an independent, are not interested, Temple is the leading candidate as the league’s 12th member, sources said.

However, the league’s presidents on Tuesday did not officially discuss any candidates beyond Boise State, Houston, Navy, UCF, Air Force and SMU, a source said.

If Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia must stay in the Big East until 2014, the league would have 15 football members in 2013 – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Air Force, Navy, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and BYU/Temple.

In 2014, a 12-team Big East likely would be split into one of the following two six-team divisions based on BYU or Temple joining.

If BYU joins: West – Boise State, Air Force, BYU, Houston, SMU and Louisville; East – Cincinnati, UConn, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF and Navy.

If Temple joins: West – Boise State, Air Force, Houston, SMU, Louisville and Cincinnati; East – UConn, Rutgers, South Florida, UCF, Navy and Temple.


Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:00 pm

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Calm down Jesterrace, no other D1A (BCS) conference is going to take the Big East division of the BCS revenues from them.  Rather, and despite the desperation moves Marinatto is making, the other automatic qualifying conferences are just going to eliminate the Big East's portion of the pie.  As the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC expand, they will want to make the corresponding revenue increase to their conferences to cover the extra divisions within their conferences.  The easiest way will be to cut their ugly little sister lose.

Sorry, but the argument that the Conference USA and Mountain West Conference playoff champion not be good enough to replace the Big East champion is quite laughable, especially if the four teams the Big East is drooling over to make their conference bowl worthy do not commit to the Big East.  Right now Marinatto is doing everything he can to bribe Houston, SMU, Air Force and Boise State to join the Big East.  But, what if they don't?  Or an even worse, yet likely scenario, is what if they do and one or two of those programs gets hit with major sanctions by the NCAA?

Face it, the Big East is not a good fit for any of those four teams and if they have some business sense, each of them would hold out for a Big 12 invite.  They would be a more natural fit in that conference and their fan base could travel to sporting events with their team more easily.  Imagine the pure thrill in the Carrier Dome or High Point Stadium of 45,000 fans, 200 of them being from Boise State, coming to watch Boise State win a game.  But, Big East football is not about the fans, it is about the revenue, especially the revenue the football playing schools can bring in for the non-football playing schools.

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 2:40 pm

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Whoops, comment below should read that Air Force would be the only potential major media market for the MWC, C-USA merger, NOT that they would make the bottom 10 list.  They have a much better history than that. ;)

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 2:36 pm

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

I love how people think that the MWC/C-USA merger is going to steal the Big East's bid.  Much harder to lose a bid then it is to earn one.  Someone wants to argue that the Big East will lose it's bid to another BCS Conference I would concede that to be a possibility but definitely not to the proposed MWC/C-USA merger.  Consider that 4 of the MWC's teams have overall losing records, add in the C-USA teams and 10 of the 22 have overall losing records.  In the proposed Big East only 3 of the teams have overall losing records and 2 of the 3 are teams that have been improving over the last several years.  Further consider that in the bottom 10 list of FBS football teams the MWC, C-USA merger has 4 of them and the proposed Big East has. . .NONE OF THEM (maybe with the exception of Air Force if they stay).  The Big East can file for an extension after 2013 and end up with 4 years of BCS Status for sure.  Also how many of the 22 proposed team merger have major media markets to generate revenue?  That's right, NONE OF THEM.  The Big East has several already and the selected teams will add more on to that, especially with Navy and Air Force in the mix.  Also people aren't thinking about the money needed to grow and develop as a program.  What happens if by some miracle the 22 team cluster-mess does snag an AQ bid, they likely would produce a similar media deal and payout to the current Big East in terms of total numbers.  What happens when a given team ie Boise State wins the MWC and MWC/C-USA champ game and then goes on to a BCS bowl?  Say Boise State wins that bowl, and then finds itself having to share revenue between 2 different conferences and 21 other teams.  On the other hand any team that wins out the Big East only has to share with one conference and 11 members.  That is a HUGE difference is revenue distribution by essentially cutting the number of mouths and conferences to feed in half.  Further consider that the BCS has already made it clear that there is no guarantee that the C-USA/MWC merger will EVER produce a bid.  Imagine that they get everything set up and have all the legal terms in order, media deals, etc.  (that should be a blast with the Mtn network) and then the BCS says they don't qualify.  Then you are looking at one quick and messy divorce or the WORST DEAL IN FBS HISTORY.  Imagine being stuck in this non-AQ juggernaut and having to run the table, play a conference championship game, win a BCS bid (like Boise State has done in the past) and then with no additional income you are stuck with the aforementioned problem of splitting a small peice of the pie with 2 conferences and 21 other teams.  They would be better off remaining as seperate conferences and hoping that one of their teams could run the table in that situation.  The bottom line is that any way you slice it the Big East even with the loss of programs has more money/media markets than the combined efforts of C-USA/MWC and if they add in the proposed teams that will seal the deal in their favor.  At first I was in favor of the 22 team conference and the opportunities for growth but the more and more I look at the facts, the proposed Big East essentially culls a good chunk of the top non-AQs and merges them together with some middle of the pack BCS opponents.  Looks far more impressive than a 22 team super-conference with a handful of really good teams, some decent, some "so-so" and then a bunch of the worst of the worst in FBS football add in the lack of ability of these teams to generate major media markets and revenue.  One final point is that what happens if ANY of the top performers in either conference leave.  UCF and Houston have already been approved to look at their options which is the first step in leaving a conference.  I know it's not a guarantee but more often than not when a team does that, they end up leaving.  the MWC/C-USA merger would take a serious blow if they lost either of those two teams left and if SMU goes with them (which would be likely in that case) that would be an absolute death sentence for any hope of a BCS Bid.  That would leave Southern Miss, Tulsa and on a good year ECU as the powers in C-USA, and even though I have respect for those teams they can't carry a conference and help secure a BCS bid.

We need to look at this not as labels and travel, but as which option gives these teams the best chance at growth.  Staying in a stagnant conference with no growth options IMHO is worse than taking a risk on a conference that at least gives you a shot to continue to grow and develop as a program.  

Since: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: November 3, 2011 1:41 pm

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

This would be a terrible move for Boise State. Rest assured, the Big East is GOING to lose their automatic BCS bid, regardless if all these teams join or not. The BCS was already considering giving the Big East's BCS bid to some other conference or group of teams before the Big East even started to break apart. There is nothing to gain in this move. Boise needs to stay put in their new mega-conference 22 team league and the BCS bid will come to them. It may take until 2013, but they'll get it.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:08 pm

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

CZIGAN, thanks for your compliment !!    One of the major items that all of this BIG EAST expansion to 12 football teams brings to light; it doesn't address the real problems that have existed in the league since it formed the football side in 1991. These
areas include the basketball equation, the football equation, the Notre Dame equation.  Let me first say, I do not have a Dog in the BIG EAST Conference fight for any sport.  I do care about the BIG EAST Conference remaining relevant in the eastern time zone of the USA.
Believe me, one of the many reasons there have been problems on the football side, is Notre Dame presense in the football equation. Now, NOTRE DAME fans will argue until pigs fly that ND enhances the BE football, but believe me it does not. Any of the schools that have left the BE for greener pastures, their Presidents, their coaches will tell you that NOTRE DAME has HURT the BIG EAST football program.  No other AQ Conference in America has to have ND leeching around as a member to qualify as a BCS league, and the BIG EAST doesn't need to have them either.  Since ND plays football, they need to be ALL IN the conference or ALL OUT, and if you don't believe in this you have rocks in your head, or you are a NOTRE DAME lover in denial.  Times have changed, it doesn't really matter how big of following or alumni Notre Dame has. The reality of the situation is this; Notre Dame doesn't have the football clout in this day and time as they used to have. The TV Networks/Cable TV has been the great equalizer. There are just too many TV outlets now other than NBC. BOTTOM LINE:  NOTRE DAME needs to be ALL IN or ALL OUT !!!!!

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:58 am

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

 Your record obviously plays a factor, but respect will get a 1 loss team from the BigEast who played 4 top 25 programs in the NCG before an undefeated B10 or PAC12 team who only played 2 top 25 programs.  Just sayin......

I agree conference respect helps in getting the votes to edge out someone to get into the NCG, but I think you are wrong about a 1 loss team getting in over an unbeaten AQ team.  The only two AQ unbeatens left out of the NCG since the BCS started are Auburn 2004 and Cincinatti 2009.  Unbeatens like Utah and Boise have been passed over by 1 loss teams, but never has an unbeaten team from one of the Big 6 been leapfrogged by a team with 1 loss.

I think this is a good move for the Big East, bringing Boise in should secure them keeping the AQ status.  I also like the additions of Houston SMU, it is a shame they could never wedge themselves into the Big 12 the way Balor did, but a home in the Big East is better than C USA or wherever.

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:53 am

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Football only members are not true conference members.  The Big East is using them.  They should request that the buyout be waived or significantly lower.

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:17 am

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

AWFUL basketball.  My how the mighty have fallen!

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:59 am

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

If the BigEast really wanted to bring itself back to relevance after adding all of these schools, every one of the schools within it need to absolutely go out of their way to schedule a minimum of 3 TOP 25 programs OOC every year.  A round robin in the BigEast is not going to be enough to justify the conference as a whole in the eyes of the voters.  How you make up for that is to schedule strong OOC.  The BigEast would gain tons of respect even if every team within it suffered 3 losses every year IF those 3 losses came to Top 25 teams.  No other conference in the country has the majority of their teams scheduling 3 strong OOC games.  You wait and see how much respect the BE would get if they actually did this.

Say what you want, I think it's pretty obvious that respect is what gets you in the NCG every year, not your record.  Your record obviously plays a factor, but respect will get a 1 loss team from the BigEast who played 4 top 25 programs in the NCG before an undefeated B10 or PAC12 team who only played 2 top 25 programs.  Just sayin......

Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:58 am

Boise St., 3 others could join Big East by Friday

Boise State not only needs a push in the academics department (although certain programs that they have are ranked nationally) they also need to expand their media market by about 4-5x tand needs a much larger research budget.  The PAC12 likes research schools, so I wouldn't hold my breath.  Realistically the only way the PAC12 will expand again is if they can grab the likes of Oklahoma and Texas, so I am sorry but the PAC12 is NOT an option.  The Big 12 COULD BE an option but only if 3-4 other schools turn them down and IF the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.  If they boost their academics and gain a larger media market, then they might move up on that list but that is going to take some time and is going to cost more money than they currently get in the MWC. 

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