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Big East Annual Meetings Today

Today is the day of the annual Big East presidents meeting in Philadelphia. Things are scheduled to get underway at 8:00 a.m. and those present will have plenty of things to discuss. Last season, the conference voted at that meeting to begin the process of expanding the football side of the conference to 10 members.

This year, expansion is again expected to dominate the conversation.

The presidents of the Big East schools are expected to authorize commissioner John Marinatto to finally begin issuing invitations to the target schools that are interested in joining the conference. Those schools should include the University of Houston and the University of Central Florida, who both held votes last week to authorize their presidents to make decisions regarding conference alignment. Other potential invitations could be issued to SMU, Navy, Air Force and Boise State.

They will also need to find a school to replace the newly-departed West Virginia. That discussion could focus on Brigham Young University, who reportedly is a preferred target for Boise State and Air Force, while Memphis has gained some traction in recent days and Temple could again arise in discussions.

Villanova reportedly still wants to join the conference for football, especially if the television revenue projections are strong enough to alleviate some of the financial risk involved. 'Nova's football team hasn't been seriously discussed by the Big East lately and school hasn't been happy about that situation.

Villanova has recently made a commitment to promoting and supporting the football program at an increased level. What is the endgame of promoting Villanova football so heavily and hiring a major gifts officer attached to the football program this fall?

Will Father Donohue and Vince Nicastro be pitching Villanova football yet again today, and if they do, will anyone listen? More information should come to the forefront by the end of the day.

The conference will also likely discuss litigation strategies for dealing with the law suit filed against the conference by West Virginia.

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Mike Jensen has a column out in the Inqy about how he thinks things at the Big East meeting should and will go:

Temple is clearly trying to pull out whatever stops it can pull. On Monday, Mayor Nutter's office announced it had sent a letter to Marinatto advocating for Temple.

Nutter's letter wasn't the only one sent in favor of Temple. Former Pennsylvania Governor and Villanova Law alumnus Ed Rendell also sent a letter. Rendell's letter stated the following:

"As a Philadelphian and a sports fan, I am very proud of Temple’s growing impact on intercollegiate athletics, and I am convinced that an affiliation with the Big East is one that would benefit both the Conference and the Greater Philadelphia region."

Rendell followed that up with a statement on the issue on WIP radio, blaming Villanova for ending, "the Big 5 as we know it," and for blocking Temple from joining the Big East. Neither statement, of course, is the whole truth.