Tag:Air Force
Posted on: February 13, 2012 2:15 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 6:20 am
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C-USA, MWC dissolving to form new league

The institutions from Conference USA and the Mountain West are dissolving both leagues to create their own conference, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

The new conference will consist of 18 to 24 members and start in the 2013-14 academic year. It would not only have a conference championship football game, but also conference semifinals. Conference USA and the Mountain West would continue as is for the 2012-13 season.

The reason that the institutions are dissolving and forming their own league and not just merging is for legal reasons, sources said.

"This presidentially led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics and ensuring competitive fairness," said a statement from UNLV president Neal Smatresk and Tulane president Scott Cowen.

"This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast," Smatresk said. "This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics. We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture."

The structure of the new conference, Smatresk and Cowen's statement said, will have a "national scope from the Atlantic Seaboard to Hawaii, regular season scheduling in divisions, NCAA FBS affiliation and mechanisms to emphasize and improve academic standards and fiscal responsibility."

The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings during the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.

The new league -- which is yet to be named -- is expected to consist of  Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member.

Temple also is a possibility. The school was contacted by Conference USA, sources told CBSSports.com, when the Big East last week opted to invited Memphis instead of Temple.

CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd first reported last month about the possibility of the leagues dissolving and forming their own league.

Both leagues have suffered significant losses. BYU went independent last season, while TCU is leaving for the Big 12 and Boise State and San Diego State are leaving for the Big East, with Boise State possibly joining the Big East this summer. C-USA also lost Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis to the Big East, starting in 2013.


Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:50 am
 

C-USA contacts Temple; MWC merger changes weekly

After Memphis’ decision to leave for the Big East on Tuesday, Conference USA officials immediately contacted Temple to gauge the Owls’ interest in moving from the Mid-American Conference to C-USA, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

Temple thought it would receive the Big East’s invitation and was stunned the Big East invited Memphis. The Owls were former Big East members before getting dismissed from the league in 2004. Temple has been a member of the MAC since 2007 and in the past three seasons has a 26-12 record under former coach Al Golden and current coach Steve Addazio.

It’s unknown if the Owls would welcome a move to C-USA since there’s still the possibility the Big East could have more future openings if the Big 12 expands to 11 and takes Louisville. If that happens, Temple would be back on the Big East’s radar.

The future of Conference USA is also unknown. C-USA and the Mountain West are considering a merger or will dissolve the two leagues into one. With Memphis gone, will the leagues still combine or decide its better to go at it alone? One source said the possibility of the C-USA/MWC merger “changes weekly.”

If C-USA and the MWC did combine as an all-sports league it would consist of: Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member, making a 15-team all-sports conference and a 16-team football conference, not including Temple.

The benefits of the combined league, sources say, would be stability, increased potential television revenue and the additional exposure across the country in new markets. They also would be able to conduct a conference championship game in football. C-USA currently has a championship game, the Mountain West doesn’t.

If the leagues decide to remain as they are could they survive with all of the defections? The Mountain West will be losing TCU, Boise State and San Diego State, while C-USA will lose Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis. The television revenue for each league would not be as substantial.

As unwieldy as a 15- or 16-team all-sports league stretched across the country may seem, it still likely would provide more long-term stability – at least until one of the current BCS AQ conferences decides to expand again and the dominoes continue to trickle down to the MWC and C-USA.

So does Temple join forces with C-USA or hold out hope for a Big East invite? Does C-USA combine with the Mountain West? We’ll have to wait and see, but the fact that in 2013 seven of the Big East’s 11 football members are former C-USA members (Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Houston, Memphis, UCF and SMU) was not lost on one college football industry source.

“Perhaps the Big East can save time and take the rest of Conference USA’s teams,” quipped the source. “Then take C-USA’s name and divide the league into Red, White and Blue Divisions (as the league once had in the 1990s).”
Posted on: December 7, 2011 7:38 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Big East: different look, but same name

NEW YORK – First things first: the Big East Conference, stretching four time zones from the East Coast to the West Coast, is not undergoing a name change.

It will remain the Big East.

It will, however, look much, much different.

On Wednesday, the league announced that Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF would join the league in 2013. Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, SMU and UCF as all-sport members.

And even with the addition of those five schools, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said the league has no plans to allow West Virginia (to the Big 12) and Syracuse and Pittsburgh (to the ACC) to leave before June 30, 2014, as required by conference by-laws.

“The additions that we're making today have no impact whatsoever in regard to our commitment and our belief that our schools that are leaving would fulfill the 27‑month requirement clause that's currently in our bylaws,” Marinatto said. “The bylaws are the bylaws are the bylaws. They represent the agreements between the conference schools. I think there's an understanding amongst all of our schools that an early departure and a violation of those bylaws would do damage to the schools that are remaining. As a result, two of our schools have indicated that they respect that process and they understand it.”

Those two schools are Syracuse and Pittsburgh. West Virginia, however, has filed a lawsuit to join the Big 12 next season. The Big East also has filed a lawsuit to make West Virginia honor the exit agreement until 2014.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck told CBSSports.com Wednesday that even if the league compromised and allowed the Mountaineers to leave a year early in 2013, their plans are still to join the Big 12 next season.

“That doesn’t change,” Luck told CBSSports.com.

Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said his school is prepared to honor the 27-month exit agreement, but told CBSSports.com “we’re just open to seeing what happens.”

“They’re starting to put together what the new Big East will look like,” Gross said. “As they go forward to put together new multi-media deals, they’re going to need us to move out of the way. We’re waiting for that.”

Marinatto said that was not the case. So if West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse must remain in the league through June 30, 2014, that means the Big East in 2013 would consist of at least 13 teams in football and 19 schools in basketball.

Officials at Air Force, which was a target of the Big East as a football-only member, told the Gazette Wednesday, that it would remain in the Mountain West. Navy, however, remains a viable target, but won’t make any decisions this week that would take attention away from Saturday’s Army-Navy game.

The new Big East is certainly bigger than any conference out there. It’s got a bigger footprint than even Bigfoot.

“We've envisioned the premise that we could theoretically on any given Saturday have four kickoffs that don't compete with each other,” Marinatto said. “We think, as I mentioned earlier, that's a very powerful model as we move forward in our upcoming TV negotiations.”

Those will begin in 2012. The Big East first must give ESPN the first opportunity as its currents rights holder and if they don’t reach a deal by November 2012 then the Big East could negotiate with other networks such as Fox or NBC/Comcast.

NCAA President Mark Emmert, without specially mentioning the Big East, discussed schools leaving non-automatic BCS qualifying conferences (such as Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, UCF and SMU) for an automatic qualifying BCS conference such as the Big East.

“There’s a lot of motivation’s going on (with expansion), clearly the BCS automatic qualifying position is driving a lot of this,” Emmert said at the IMG Forum at the Marriott Marquis. “Nobody wants to lose their AQ rights in the BCS and, of course, one of the ironies is the BCS is going to be refined again (in 2014).”

And if there remains BCS AQ conferences at that time, the Big East feels strongly it will remain one.

“Part of our objectives in expansion was to create the best conference we could both on the football side as well as other sports,” Marinatto said. “We recognize obviously the departure of the schools leaving the conference affected us. But we always felt confident that if we made the right moves, we would keep our BCS AQ status and we've done that.”

Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:03 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

NEW YORK – With the Mountain West and Conference USA losing at least five members to the Big East, those two leagues are now looking at an all-sports merger instead of a full-scale football expansion as originally planned, sources told CBSSports.com.

Conference USA and the Mountain West initially planned to combine into a separate football-only league with between 20 and 24 members and conducted an Oct. 15 press conference to announce the news. The winners from C-USA and the Mountain West would meet in a playoff with, they hoped, the winner earning a BCS bowl berth.

A BCS bowl berth, however, would have had to be approved by the BCS.

However, that plan has lost steam by the loss of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF to the Big East. Instead, C-USA and the Mountain West are considering a merger in all sports. Sources have indicated that Craig Thompson, the current commissioner of the Mountain West, would become the commissioner of the new merged league, while Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky would step down.

A vote on the merger could come by next month, sources said.

The merged league would consist of: East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP from C-USA and Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming from the Mountain West along with new members Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada for a 17-team conference. Air Force was being sought after by the Big East, but the Gazette reported Tuesday evening that the Falcons would remain in the Mountain West.

After the initial merger announcement to as many as 24 schools on Oct. 15, Banowsky e-mailed officials at Conference USA and the Mountain West a week later about a proposed new conference, entitled “BCS and The Big East Expansion (An Alternative Plan).”

“Attached is a document that might find of interest regarding conference realignment,” Banowsky wrote on the e-mail, obtained by CBSSports.com.

That eight-page document presented two possible conferences mergers: one with 28 teams and another with 32 teams. They included all the Big East, Conference USA and Mountain West teams, plus a few other teams from other leagues. The plan was never endorsed by the Big East and didn’t get much further than being reported by various media outlets.

To combat the departures of the five schools, the Mountain West had decided to add San Jose State and Utah State. But adding those schools has now been put on hold, sources said.

Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 9:05 am
 

Boise State, 4 others to join Big East in 2013

Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF will join the Big East Conference in 2013, sources told CBSSports.com.

The announcement will be made Wednesday. The league will hold a 5 p.m. ET teleconference to formally discuss the new members. Realignment map: The new Big East

Boise State and San Diego State will join the Big East as football-only members, while Houston, SMU and UCF will join as all-sport members. Boise State is expected to put its non-football sports in the WAC, while San Diego State would place its non-football sports in the Big West, sources told CBSSports.com.

With the addition of those five schools -- minus the departures of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- the Big East will have 10 football members.

With those five schools on board, Navy is expected to join as a football-only member -- possibly as soon as next week -- to boost the football membership to 11 schools.

The Big East hopes to add Air Force as its 12th football school -- as a football-only member -- but the Falcons still remain undecided.

If the Big East cannot get Air Force, Temple would be a likely candidate to become the Big East's 12th member.

Even with the new schools, sources also told CBSSports.com that the Big East still plans to make West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh honor the league's 27-month exit requirement and stay in the league until June 30, 2014. Big East commissioner John Marinatto has said previously the league could have more than 12 football members and 16 basketball members during the 2013 season.

However, West Virginia AD Oliver Luck told CBSSports.com two weeks ago the Mountaineers are planning to join the Big 12 next season.

"We're planning on all sports spending the 2012-13 academic year in the Big 12," Luck said. "The Big 12 folks haven't given us a [deadline] date. We're 100 percent focused on competing in the Big 12 and with this season closing, have time to prepare for next year.

"Our coaches are starting to think about Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas and all the other schools we'll be facing in the Big 12 next year."

Both West Virginia and the Big East have filed lawsuits. West Virginia claims it should not have to honor the 27-month commitment, while the Big East contends West Virginia may not leave before 2014.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh have not filed a lawsuit to join the ACC early, but are monitoring the West Virginia situation. If WVU leaves before 2014, Syracuse and Pittsburgh would do the same, sources said.



Posted on: November 22, 2011 4:08 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Big East done pursuing BYU

The Big East has decided "to move on" and is no longer pursuing BYU as a conference member, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday morning, sources previously had told CBSSports.com that unless BYU decided to relinquish its television rights for its home football games, the Cougars would not join the Big East. The Cougars would not do so.

"The Big East has moved on," a source said about the prospect of adding BYU.

The Cougars had been in discussions with the Big East for weeks about joining the league. In the earlier negotiations between BYU and the Big East, BYU did not have an issue with relinquishing its home television rights. That changed, however.

"They (BYU) are being extremely unreasonable all of a sudden," a source said Tuesday morning. "This is one reason why they did not get into the Big 12. Their general counsel (lawyers) is a piece of work.”

With BYU out of the picture, the Big East will target San Diego State as a football-only member, a source said. The reason the Big East would seek out the Aztecs is because Boise State wants a Western partner before joining the league.

The Big East had hoped to announce its newest members (SMU, Houston, UCF and Boise State) in the past two weeks, but the on-going discussions with BYU brought the Big East’s expansion plans to a standstill. That’s because the league wanted to announce SMU, UCF, Houston and Boise State as new members together along with either BYU or Air Force or both schools.

Air Force does not plan to make a decision until after the regular season ends on Saturday, a source said.

Navy also is waiting for the other schools to join before fully committing to the league.

“It’s like everyone standing by the pool, waiting for someone to jump in before everyone else jumps in,” a source said.

On Oct. 25, CBSSports.com first reported that the Western contingent of possible future Big East members was making a push to add BYU.

Two weeks ago, a source told CBSSports.com San Diego State was pursuing a football-only membership with the Big East. San Diego State had previously pursued membership in the Big 12.

Houston, SMU, UCF and Boise State are committed to joining the Big East. Navy also has told those four schools, who CBSSports.com reported were working in concert to join the league, it also is committed to the Big East. With those five schools, the league will still need two more football schools to get to a 12-team league. Those possibilities now are San Diego State and Air Force with the 12-team league split in a West and East division.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and coach Bronco Mendenhall were said to favor a move to the Big East, but BYU President Cecil Samuelson and the school’s general counsel weren't as receptive. That was unless the Cougars could have retained their home television rights, which is unheard of for a conference school.

If the Big East gave up the television rights to BYU’s home games, it would have reduced the amount the Big East could seek in its upcoming negotiations for its new media rights deal with either ESPN, NBC-Comcast and/or Fox.

There are no schools in any of the BCS AQ conferences that retain their home television rights, only those schools that are independents. BYU is in its first year as an independent after leaving the Mountain West and last year signed an eight-year deal with ESPN, which would have to be reworked if the Cougars joined the Big East.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Boise State gets authorization to join Big East

Boise State will not be a BCS buster much longer.

On Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education gave Boise State President Bob Kustra authorization to join the Big East as football-only member.

The Big East is one of six automatic qualifying BCS leagues and is guaranteed its BCS status through the 2013 season. Boise State has not received an "official invitation" yet, but would join the Big East on July 1, 2013.

The addition of Boise State would be huge for the Big East, which is trying to restock its league after Pittsburgh, Syracuse, TCU and West Virginia announced they would be leaving the league for the ACC or Big 12 conferences.

Boise State submitted a motion to its State Board of Education Thursday to “change conference affiliation for its intercollegiate athletics teams” and leave the Mountain West. It was passed by the board, 7-1, Thursday afternoon. The school likely won't finalize a move to the Big East until it can secure a home for its Olympic sports.

As reported by CBSSports.com on Tuesday, lawyers from Boise State, UCF, Houston and SMU have been working together the past two weeks in negotiations with the Big East and plan to have all four introduced together as new members. Sources told CBSSports.com this could occur as early as Friday, but Kustra told the state's Board of Education a move may not occur until next week.

Although no official invitation from the Big East has been extended, Big East commissioner John Marinatto has had numerous conversations with representatives from all four schools – plus Navy and Air Force – in the past weeks.

“The University anticipates an offer is imminent and is requesting Board approval to proceed in the best interests of the University should an offer be extended,” the school presented in an agenda item to the Board of Education.

According to Boise State, “The Big East plans to adopt a 12 team football conference with an East and West Division. The two division alignment allows the addition of a championship game at the end of the season. A conference championship game is expected to also add value to the media rights of the conference.”

"Being in a BCS conference is absolutely critical," Kustra told the board.

Kustra also said that by Boise State providing more than a year's notice to leave the Mountain West, the school would not have to pay a $5 million exit fee.

CBSSports.com has reported the league likely would be divided this way – West: Boise State, Houston, SMU, Louisville, Air Force and BYU (if the Cougars opt to join) and East: Cincinnati, Navy, UConn, South Florida, UCF and Rutgers.

Besides Boise State, sources told CBSSports.com that Houston, UCF, SMU and Navy are committed to joinig the Big East and only awaiting an official invitation. Sources said they expect Air Force to also join after those five schools have officially been added to the Big East.

Any new Big East members would not join the league until July 1, 2013.




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

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

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 CBSSports.com.

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.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com