Big East Commissioner John Marinatto has confirmed that the league has approved invitations for six new members, but he would not name the schools to media covering his appearance this afternoon. Reports continue to spread that Air Force, Boise State and Navy will be invited for football only, while Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida will be asked to join the Big East in all sports.
Marinatto released a statement, which was reported by cbssports.com:
“Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East Conference. I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for."
——————ORIGINAL POST, 1:24 P.M.——————
An Associated Press story out of Philadelphia today is reporting that the Big East Conference has approved inviting Air Force, Navy and Boise State to join that league as football-only members.
The story, relying on an unnamed source, said the Big East also will invite Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida for all available sports.
There was no immediate response from the Air Force Academy or the other schools named. However, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto did visit Colorado Springs and Boise last week for private meetings, presumably in regard to the conference’s expansion.
The AP source also gave no indication when the new members might be able to join, if they accept their invitations.
Air Force has been a charter member of the Mountain West Conference since its formation in 1999. Prior to that, from 1980 through 1998, the Falcons competed in the Western Athletic Conference.
Big East member schools’ presidents met today in Philadelphia, but Marinatto did not divulge any actions when meeting afterward with media. He did say, according to the AP story, that the league would be expanding westward, and that the Big East does not intend to release three departing members (Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia) until 2014. West Virginia has filed suit against the Big East challenging that, after accepting an invitation from the Big 12.
If Air Force and Boise State go to the Big East, that would be a serious blow to the Mountain West, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs.