Big East Conference Sends Invites to Five Schools
If all goes according to plan, the Big East will end up replacing outgoing Pittsburgh, Syracuse and TCU with full-time members Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida, while adding Air Force and Boise State in football only.
According to a source with direct knowledge of Friday’s Big East conference call, the conference has sent conditional invitations to Houston and SMU for all sports and Air Force and Boise State for football only. The Big East informed the four schools that if all four agree to join the Big East then the remaining schools would agree to an increase in the exit fee from $5 million to the $10 million range to show a commitment to the incoming schools. However, the six remaining football playing schools won’t commit to raising the fee unless all four commit to joining the Big East in football with Houston and SMU joining in all sports.
Meanwhile, the Big East sent a separate all-sports invitation to UCF and are expecting the Knights to accept, the source said. An official in the Big East told The Associated Press that commissioner John Marinatto was in Cincinnati on Friday meeting with UCF’s president and athletic director.
If Houston, SMU and Central Florida accept for all sports that would restore the Big East to 17 teams in men’s basketball, while adding Air Force and Boise State in football only would get the conference to 11 teams in that sport, pending a Navy decision.