It's official: Big East welcomes 5 new members
After months of subtraction, the Big East was proud to practice some addition, formally announcing an expansion with five new football schools in 2013: Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members, and Conference USA's Houston, SMU and Central Florida as all-sport additions.
USF President Judy Genshaft, who doubles as chair of the Big East executive committee, was part of the official announcement Wednesday afternoon, with commissioner John Marinatto proudly announcing the additions.
With teams spanning all four time zones, Marinatto said the league is excited about the prospect of a Saturday that has four conference football games one after another, a 12-hour window that could be enticing as the league renegotiating a new TV contract next year.
We'll have a full story posted this evening, but you can follow the announcement in progress on Twitter at @gregauman.
-- Awkward moment of the teleconference? Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi had this interchange with Genshaft, who wasn't about to choose UCF's proud arrival as a moment to admit to any prior ill will toward her new conference rival.
Bianchi: "President Genshaft, there's been a belief for a long time that you didn't want UCF in the Big East and you didn't want to play UCF. Can you talk about your feelings about UCF, past and now present?
Genshaft: "I'm very pleased to welcome UCF and (president) John Hitt and all the athletic teams into our conference. I made the motion that they be entered into the league."
Bianchi: "One followup: Would you say were there hard feelings in the past? Would you say those hard feelings have been alleviated now?"
Genshaft: "I am very pleased to have my colleague from Florida in the league and welcome John Hitt and University of Central Florida."