Big East Expansion: Conference Given Authorization To Get To 12 Football-Playing Schools

On a scheduled conference call this morning between the Big East Presidents and Athletic Directors, the Big East Conference was given the authorization to formally begin discussions with schools to get the conference's total number of football-playing schools to 12. Here's the statement from the conference.

On a teleconference earlier today, our Presidents and Chancellors authorized the BIG EAST Conference to engage in formal discussions with additional institutions and are considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.

While the meeting was originally to discuss raising the exit fees, the schools are apparently still discussing specific financial figures.

No word yet on specific schools that the conference will be reaching out to, but sure bets are Navy and Air Force, with Central Florida, East Carolina, Temple, Villanova and Army also likely candidates for an invite.

Currently, the Big East has 6 football members - Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati and South Florida. TCU, which joined last November, is expected to accept an invitation to play in the Big 12 as early as today.

That means the Big East will be looking for at least 6 new members (possibly more if Missouri bolts the Big 12 for the SEC, with Louisville the top target to replace them. Though as of right now, it appears Louisville and West Virginia are set to stay.

Right now, Navy, Air Force and UCF are most likely the top targets (Navy and Air Force would want Army included, yet they've been lukewarm to the idea) with East Carolina, Temple and Villanova on the secondary list. Memphis and Houston have also been thrown out as candidates, though not as much as the aforementioned schools.

The tricky part of all of this is that the conference will not want to inflate the basketball conference too much, so some of these schools (Navy and Air Force, for example) would be coming as football-members only.

On we go.

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