The Big East’s long-awaited additions are set, with more rebuilding to come.
The conference is preparing to announce the additions of Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, Central Florida and SMU for all sports as soon as Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The five schools will join in 2013.
The person spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out with the schools and plans for an announcement were being completed.
The Big East has been trying to rebuild as a 12-school football conference since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be moving to the ACC and West Virginia announced it was leaving for the Big 12. TCU also reneged on a commitment to join the Big East and instead accepted an invite to the Big 12.
The Star-Ledger in New Jersey first reported the Big East was on the verge of making the additions.
The Big East has also been pursuing Navy and Air Force as football-only members, but the military academies are not yet ready to commit to the conference, the person said.
While the Big East is finally about to expand, it’s still very much a league in flux.
Commissioner John Marinatto has pledged to hold Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to the league bylaws and keep the schools in the Big East for two more football seasons. Syracuse, Pitt and the ACC have said they would like to move on as soon as possible, but are not challenging the Big East’s rules.
West Virginia is. The school has sued the Big East and wants to join the Big 12 in 2012. The Big 12 needs a replacement for Missouri, which next year is headed to the Southeastern Conference, to have the 10 members it needs to meet the conditions of its television contracts.
“I think what John Marinatto just did, he should get a substantial raise for what he just accomplished,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “Getting Boise State. Getting Houston, SMU. I think that is as good of a job for a commissioner with his back against the wall as I’ve seen since I’ve been in athletics. The teams you lost aren’t as good in football as the teams you’re bringing in.”