In December, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Navy would be joining the Big East as a football-only member but wasn’t sure when.
The Midshipmen have made that decision.
On Tuesday, Navy will announce it is joining the Big East as a football-only member in 2015, sources told CBSSports.com. After more than 130 years playing as an independent, the Midshipmen will join a conference.
In 2013, the Big East is adding Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and UCF, Houston and SMU as all sports members, but Gladchuk previously said it was unlikely Navy could solve a myriad of its scheduling problems and television contracts in that short of time. Navy has games scheduled through 2017 and television contracts with CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports (Navy-Army game) through 2018, Gladchuk said.
“We’re breaking away from a lifelong commitment as an independent and we have a better television deal than a lot of conferences,” Gladchuk told CBSSports.com last month. “We can’t do that without a mutual understanding with the Big East. The good news is [Big East commissioner] John [Marinatto] has been receptive of talking this though.”
With the addition of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, UCF, SMU and Navy and the departures of West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the Big East will have at least 11 football members when Navy comes on board in 2015.
Marinatto has said repeatedly the league is seeking a 12-team football league and there’s a possibility the league could add another football member by the 2013 season, sources said.
“We’re bringing some sizzle to the steak,” Gladchuk said last month about Navy’s move to the Big East. “That’s why we’re excited about the possibility of the Big East and the Big East is excited about us. We (Navy and the Big East) would both like to get to the goal line.”
Air Force and Army also have been targeted by the Big East, but Air Force said it will remain in the Mountain West and Army wants to remain an independent. Gladchuk said the decisions by Air Force and Army not to join the Big East would not have any impact on Navy’s decision.
“The thinking from Colorado Springs is fully removed from Annapolis – there are no tentacles attached,” Gladchuk said. “We’ll make our decision based on what’s best for us.”
Gladchuk has said the league’s stability was important before the Midshipmen would join. The Big East currently is one of the lucrative six automatic qualifying BCS conferences, but there is a possibility the AQ BCS status may not exist when the new BCS cycle begins in 2014.
Gladchuk said last month that was something Navy would consider.
With Navy headed to the Big East in 2015, there remains no definitive answer how long West Virginia will remain in the league. West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh are all bound by the conference bylaw requiring 27 months notice, the Big East claims.
However, West Virginia has filed a lawsuit to leave and join the Big 12 in 2012, while the Big East also has filed a lawsuit to keep West Virginia from leaving early. Mountaineers athletic director Oliver Luck told CBSSports.com last month WVU still plans to join the Big 12 next season.
A Rhode Island judge has ordered the league and West Virginia into non-binding mediation to try and resolve the lawsuits.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse are scheduled to join the ACC on July 1, 2014 and have given no indication the two schools would not honor the 27-month notice.
Navy’s announcement Tuesday that it will join the Big East also will increase the Big East’s exit fees from $5 million to $10 million if any other current teams leave the league. WVU, Pitt, Syracuse and TCU all had to pay a $5 million exit fee.