Big East sought football exit fees of $12-$15 million
While the proposal didn't get the required votes needed to pass, the Big East presidents sought last week to increase the withdrawal fee for a football member leaving the conference to the range of $12 million to $15 million, a considerable raise from the current $5 million.
According to an e-mail from commissioner John Marinatto to school presidents released to the Times on Wednesday as part of a public records request, the agenda for the Oct. 2 meeting in Washington, D.C., asked for schools to consider raising the exit fee to the greater of $5 million or "150 percent of gross revenues (from the conference) during the final fiscal year in which the withdrawing member is a member of the conference." Football members are believed to get between $8 million and $10 million from the Big East, which would put the proposed exit fee at between $12 million and $15 million.
Marinatto's letter conveys what the Times reported last week, that the remaining football members needed to take action to show potential additions that there is stability in the conference. "The most important issue for us to focus on, however, is the future of the Conference and specifically how we can stabilize our situation in order to convey a level of comfort and security to any potential new members and provide them some assurances about their future with us," Marinatto wrote, just days before TCU opted to join the Big 12 instead of the Big East.
The proposal would have also required an exiting school to make an immediate payment of $3 million toward that exit fee "upon the first delivery of the withdrawal notice to the commissioner," with the remainder due by the effective date of the withdrawal.
The league has since enabled Marinatto to move forward with the process of extending invitations to new schools and has acknowledged that the conference is considering a model that would add six football members to form a new 12-team football league. Air Force, Navy and Central Florida are believed to be the top candidates on that list, with Boise State also being pursued and Temple, Houston and SMU among other schools being considered.