Big East invitations coming 'shortly' after unanimous vote
The Big East took another step toward solidifying its future Tuesday, as the league presidents voted unanimously in Philadelphia to extend invitations to an unspecified number of schools, with commissioner John Marinatto saying in a statement that those invitations will be extended "shortly."
"Our presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the Big East conference," Marinatto said. "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."
The reference to "further expansion" suggests the league isn't moving from five football schools to its goal of 12 in a single action, so it's unknown how many of the targeted schools will be part of the initial invitations. Conference USA's Houston, Central Florida and SMU are expected to be invited as all-sports members, while Boise State, Air Force and Navy are expected to receive football-only invitations, leaving one more opening to get the league to 12 teams. BYU, Temple and Memphis are among the options for a 12th football member.
UCF spokesman Grant Heston issued a statement Tuesday, saying that UCF had not yet received an invitation from the Big East, "however, we understand that things are moving in that direction."