Report: Villanova football could join Big East
Interesting news out of Philadelphia, where a story in Friday's Daily News quotes Villanova's athletic director as saying that the Big East has expressed an interest in adding the Wildcats -- who won a I-AA national title last year -- as a ninth football member.
The league isn't commenting and has asked its member schools to do the same, but I asked commissioner John Marinatto about Villanova in August at the Big East preseason football media gathering in Rhode Island, and he acknowledged it as an option that would solve football's scheduling issues without complicating the league's 16-member basketball format.
Villanova could follow the same model Connecticut did starting in 1997, making a big leap from I-AA to the Big East, but having a few years between the announcement and the arrival, to be able to sell recruits on playing in a better league in advance of getting there. Funding an extra 22 scholarships (to go from the I-AA max of 63 to the I-A standard of 85) would be expensive at a private school, and because of gender equity, the school might have to fund comparable scholarships for its women's teams.
One more local tie to the Villanova story -- one option for a larger home stadium for Villanova is PPL Park, home of Philadelphia's new MLS team, the Union, and the team's president is former USF associate athletic director Tom Veit.