Big East commissioner John Marinatto releases a statement
PHILADELPHIA — The Big East has voted unanimously to extend invitations to schools, but they are not releasing the names of the potential targets.
Following a meeting of presidents in Philadelphia, Big East commissioner John Marinatto released a statement saying “Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference.” Marinatto says he will be speaking to those schools over the next week and hopes to have deals done in that time frame, but also noted that other schools could be targeted at a later time. The ultimate goal is to form a 12-team league when all is said and done, including the losses of West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
Some of the likely targets rumored to be in consideration include Central Florida, Air Force and Boise State. When asked about bringing natural rivalries in to the Big East, with a focus on Villanova and Temple, Marinatto noted that Central Florida and South Florida (already a Big East member) would be a welcome addition, suggesting that Central Florida is on a short list, although Marinatto refused to release any possible names that may receive an invitation. The commissioner did say that invitations would only be sent out with the expectation they would be accepted.
Marinatto also touched on the West Virginia lawsuit, saying he was surprised to learn about it and to read some of the attacks, which got a little personal for the Big East commissioner.
“I light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed tour continuing commitment to enforce the 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave,” Marinatto said. West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse all will be mandated to stay in the Big East until June 30, 2014 before switching to a new conference.
Marinatto was also asked about Louisville’s position in the conference, and he had nothing but glowing words to say about Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich, and he commented on how loyal Louisville has been to the Big East since joining the conference.
So for now the Big East expansion rumors will continue to be just that, rumors, at least for one more week. We should learn more about what direction the Big East is heading, with concrete names to add over the course of the next week, but the question is how many teams will we be looking at as Big East members?