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Expansion Update: Wrapping up?

Big East commissioner John Marinatto speaks to reporters (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the Big East league officials met with athletics directors from the five remaining football members in New York on Monday to work on the remaining details related to expansion of the football conference. The Star-Ledger source believes that the conference will complete the first major phase of it's expansion by adding Central Florida, Houston and SMU in all sports and Boise State and San Diego State in football only. An announcement of those additions would come shortly after the legal paperwork is completed, with the league targeting a Wednesday press conference in New York City.

Among the issues left to be determined are the specifics of San Diego State's membership as well as the conference homes for the non-football sports of both SDSU and Boise State. Boise prefers to join the same conference as SDSU, but that may require both to find a new home in the WAC. The Big West Conference is also an option for SDSU, but it is more geographically-compact, with every team based in California (except for Hawaii, but they pay a travel stipend to the conference to help cover expenses for other members). The Big West is not very interested in Boise State's basketball and non-revenue sports at the moment.

All five of those additions should be added for the 2013 football season. It might be possible for Boise State to join next year by paying a larger fee. A Mountain West member departing with less than a year's notice is required to pay an additional penalty on top of forfeiting their final season's revenue sharing amount — a number that could be "a lot cheaper" than initially projected.

While the first 5 additions could be announced soon for a 2013 arrival, the Big East still expects that Navy and Air Force will join the conference shortly afterward.

Boise State and Houston both finished the regular season in the top-20 of the BCS standings, though neither qualified for an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game. Boise State finished 7th while Houston finished 19th. Boise finished ahead of all teams from the Big East and ACC while Houston was 4 spots higher than the highest-ranked current Big East school.

The league's current plans are to get to 12 members in two 6-team divisions for football. Much of the expansion to the west of the Mississippi River in order to accommodate the travel requirements of western members like Boise State. San Diego State became a target of the Big East for that purpose when talks with BYU broke down over television rights.


In other news: The Big East conference filed a motion to dismiss WVU's lawsuit in Monanglia County, WV on Monday. West Virginia could respond to that motion by the end of the week.

UPDATE 1:30pm - CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy is now also reporting a Wednesday announcement, with the possibility of Navy committing to join as well, next week.