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Tag:Army
Posted on: October 11, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Big East plotting football, hoops divisions

Officials from what’s left of the Big East’s dwindling football membership had another conference call on Tuesday morning and there remains no specific timetable on adding UCF, but “appears an invitation is forthcoming” for the Knights, the league’s No. 1 target.

The presidents, chancellors and athletic directors continued to discuss potential expansion candidates. Among those mentioned were UCF, Air Force, Navy, Temple, Houston, SMU and Boise State, a league source told CBSSports.com.

While Commissioner John Marinatto said in a statement Monday the league would consider a model with 12 football members, part of Tuesday’s call was discussing the possibility of splitting the football and basketball conference into divisions, once the football side is replenished.

Navy, Air Force and Boise State are being considered as football members only, while UCF, Temple, Houston and SMU are at the top of the list as all-sports members so it’s unknown right now how large the basketball membership could grow.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported one proposed alignment discussed at Tuesday’s meeting consisted of Rutgers, UConn, South Florida, UCF, Temple and Navy in an East Division with West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, Air Force, SMU and Houston in a West Division.

However, there remains the very real possibility Louisville and West Virginia may not be in the league and bound for the Big 12 if Missouri leaves for the SEC or the Big 12 expands to 12 teams.

What make Temple, SMU and Houston attractive to the Big East, one source said, is their respective television markets. Philadelphia (Temple) is the nation’s No. 4 market, Dallas (SMU) is No. 5 and Houston is No. 10.

Beyond Navy, Air Force and UCF, a league source said “no one team is definitely next” as an expansion candidate.

There also appears to be conflicting opinions on pursuing Boise State. Some league members support adding Boise State because of the Broncos’ recent success, which would help the league with its future BCS status. However, others believe Boise State, located nearly 700 miles west of Air Force and nearly 2,200 miles from Tampa/USF, is simply too far to consider.

Boise State president Bob Kustra said in a statement Monday that the Broncos “are looking forward to their inaugural season” in the Mountain West Conference and he “has great confidence in the future direction of the Mountain West.”

“While we are certainly flattered to be mentioned in connection with other conferences and we hold those leagues in high regard, our current focus is on continuing to build the outstanding athletic programs that have helped make Boise State a popular and compelling national brand," Kustra said.

“The landscape of college athletics is exceptionally fluid, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We are confident that Boise State will be well positioned for future success, and we will evaluate our status with the best interests of the entire university in mind. Boise State’s athletic achievements, academic and research successes, popularity, and vision for future growth make the university an extremely valuable conference partner.”

A league source also told CBSSports.com that Army is no longer being considered as a candidate by the Big East. “They’ve been honest with us and that they’re not interested because of the challenges they had previously in Conference USA,” the source said.

Army was in C-USA from 1998-2004. The Cadets were 9-41 in C-USA play and finished last in the league five of the seven seasons.

Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Sources: Big East contacts UCF

The Big East Conference contacted the University of Central Florida on Monday, perhaps setting the stage for the Knights to join the league, Big East and college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

The Big East, which announced Monday morning that it would consider a model with 12 football members, expressed interest in UCF, which may lead to a meeting later this week between Big East and UCF officials, an industry source said.

UCF has not received an invitation to join the Big East as an all-sports member, but one could be extended in the coming days. The Big East is looking to replace TCU, which was announced Monday as the newest member to the Big 12, and Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which are headed to the ACC.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto also contacted Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky about the Big East’s interest in the Knights, Boston.com reported.

After a brief two-year stint in the Mid-American Conference, UCF has been in Conference USA since 2005. The Knights, 3-2 this season, have been to bowl games in four of their six seasons in C-USA, winning the league title in 2007 and 2010. They went 11-3 last season, defeating Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

The Knights have lobbied publicly and privately for Big East membership for several years and would jump at the chance to join the league. UCF coach George O’Leary told me last season he thought the Knights “would be a great candidate” for the Big East.

“When you look at the school size, facilities, academics, the weather and the (nation's No. 19) TV market is something that Orlando brings,” O’Leary said last year. “There are a lot of major plusses why UCF would be considered. The big thing is all we can do is win, continue to do the things we need to do and all the other things will take care of itself.

“Obviously I think we have everything in place to move.”

The Big East is guaranteed to remain an automatic qualifying BCS conference through the 2013 season. After that, though, it’s uncertain if the Big East would retain its automatic qualifying status. O’Leary told me it’s imperative for UCF to get into a BCS league.

“No question with the economy, the BCS would solve some problems that way as far as the economy and marketing,” O'Leary said last year. “The TV exposure and recruiting – they (the recruits) want to know if you're a BCS school or not. There are a lot of major plusses just from exposure standpoint.”

On Monday morning, Marinatto released a statement that said the league’s presidents authorized him “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions” and the league is “considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

The Big East has been pursuing the academies – Navy, Air Force and Army – for years. A league source said Monday night the Big East believes Army was a “long shot” to join the league, but Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league "remains an option."

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East.”

Posted on: October 10, 2011 12:42 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Big East wants 12 members, but who will it get?

Big East presidents and chancellors Monday authorized Big East commissioner John Marinatto “to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.”

Now the question is: what schools will make up those 12?

With TCU gone before it even got here and Pittsburgh and Syracuse headed to the ACC in 2014 (and they hope even earlier than that), that leaves six football members – Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia.

For now.

That number could reduce further if Missouri goes to the SEC. Louisville and West Virginia is considered the strongest candidates for the Big 12 now that BYU apparently is no longer as highly regarded by the Big 12.

Navy, Air Force and Army remain the prime targets of the Big East as football only members. However, with the news that the Big East is pursuing 12 football schools, if the league went to a nine-game league schedule, that actually might not be an attractive option for the academies having only three non-conference games.

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told CBSSports.com Monday the Midshipmen continue to monitor the Big East and that joining the league remains an option.

Other Big East targets are Temple, of the Mid-American Conference, and a number of Conference USA schools headed by Central Florida and East Carolina.

The Newark Star-Ledger reported Sunday that Boise State was a possibility as a football-only member. Last month in a Big East presidents meeting, the Broncos were brought up as an expansion candidate, but the consensus was the school was too far away and there were concerns with their recent NCAA issues, a source said.

However, that was before TCU announced it received a Big 12 invitation, which the Horned Frogs will formally accept Monday night. Does that mean the Big East is warming to Boise State - or that desparate for members?

As far as any problems in having a 12-team football conference and a resulting basketball membership of up to 20 schools, a league source told me the size of the basketball membership is not a concern.

“You can have 50 teams in basketball (in the conference),” the source said. “It doesn't matter. That's why they have the NCAA tournament.”

The reality for the Big East is, other than continuing to pursue the academies, it must wait to see what happens with Missouri and the Big 12/SEC and the resulting dominos before proceeding further.

During Monday’s teleconference, the presidents were “still discussing appropriate figures” for increased withdrawal fees, an individual on the call told CBSSports.com.

The withdrawal fee is currently $5 million and a school must provide 27 months notice.

Last month Marinatto told CBSSports.com that the league will not allow Syracuse and Pitt to leave before their 27-month withdrawal requirement expires, keeping them in Big East until June 30, 2014.

On Saturday, Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told the Denver Post “our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say. This stuff is moving fast.”

Air Force has to decide whether to remain in a comfortable situation in the Mountain West or leave for an uncertain future in the Big East, once an automatic qualifying BCS league that may or may not still be an AQ BCS conference when the new BCS cycle begins before the 2014 season.

Even with the league holding a second conference call in four days among officials from representative from the remaining Big East schools, there wasn’t much accomplished said one frustrated individual on the call.

“Nothing accomplished,” he said.

Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Trangehese: Big East looked at Army, Navy before

About 15 years ago, then Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was working with the league’s presidents as they looked into expansion. The presidents directed him to approach Navy and Army about their interest in joining the league, which was formed in 1979 as a basketball league.

The discussions did not get very far, said Tranghese, who was the league’s commissioner from 1990-2009.

“I would describe those conversations as not very extensive,” Tranghese said. “It was clear to me there wasn’t a lot of interest [from the academies]. It never got very far. I was directed by the people in the league to at least look into it. I did it honestly in my heart knowing they weren’t interested, but times were different then.”

On Wednesday, I reported the league is considering Army and Navy as football members only and a college industry source told me he thinks the league will approach them first before pursuing other options.

Tranghese said he will not speculate on any future Big East expansion moves.

“I’m not there anymore,” he said. “If they truly want my opinion, I’d give it to them. I want them to succeed. When [former commissioner] Dave [Gavitt] left, he never gave his opinion [about future decisions] and neither am I.”

Tranghese said when he approached Army and Navy in the mid to late 1990s about the Big East, Army was not interested. Navy, though, considered it a little bit more.

Tranghese said if the academies would have been fully committed in joining back then, he’s not sure how far it would have proceeded.

“I really don’t know when push came to shove what they [the Big East presidents] would have done,” he said.

Tranghese said at the time there was an agreement with the league that if UConn and Villanova could abide by their standards, the schools could join as football members. UConn did so, but Villanova made the decision not to do so, Tranghese said.

Now 15 years later, Villanova is hoping to join the league as a football member.     

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