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Expansion Apocalypse: Countdown to 2015

There are 14 days left until 2015, at least for Villanova football. According to an article by Mike Kern in last Thursday's Philadelphia Daily News, if Villanova football's status with the Big East conference is not resolved by June 1 (which appears more and more likely), the whole timeline would be moved back by a year. Instead of joining the Big East in the 2014 season, as previously suggested, the 'Cats would extend things out and plan to join no-sooner-than the 2015 season.

Kern's article suggested that the delay would have been due, largely to the NCAA's mandatory two-year transition period. However, NCAA Bylaw, which governs that process, only requires that notice be given on the July 1, prior to the first of two transition seasons — meaning that if Villanova has an absolute deadline of June 1, 2012 to declare it's intention to reclassify to the Bowl Subdivision.

Despite the, NCAA bylaws, Mike Kern's sources were ultimately correct. A brief email exchange with him confirmed that while the school could stay on it's initial schedule after June 1 of this year, the timeline will nonetheless be pushed back at that point. His sources have now clarified that the decision to delay was Villanova's.

VUhoops' sources noted that Villanova's concerns are largely logistical and practical in nature. The athletics department is eager to leave plenty of time to transition without rushing or cutting corners. While an expedited upgrade timeline is technically possible (as UMass has demonstrated), it might not be ideal for a program transitioning to the Big East.

The additional year would not be just another year of FCS football, but an extremely aggressive phase-in period. The program would need to notify the CAA of its departure and wind up remaining commitments there, schedule 24 games as an independent for the two transition years, ramp up recruiting, scholarships and new staff, among other tasks. The shorter the timeframe, the more difficult those tasks would become.

The goal was to give the program a chance to be at least "somewhat competitive" in the transition years and early years of FBS football.