Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

UCF expected to receive invitation to join Big East in all sports

NEW YORK — The Big East plans to invite UCF as a member to compete in all sports, according to various reports.

UCF is a constant in invitation reports. It's the other Big East invitees that are up in the air.

Boise State, Air Force and Navy will be invited as football-only members, the Associated Press reported, after the Big East doubles the exit fee for current members to $10 million. Invitations could go out next week.

But ESPN reported late Friday that Houston and SMU — like UCF, members of Conference USA — will join the Knights in receiving Big East invites for all sports. Air Force and Boise State will be invited as football-only members, ESPN reported.

The Big East informed Houston, SMU, Air Force and Boise State that if all four agree to join, the remaining schools would agree to an increase in the exit fee from $5 million to the $10 million range to show a commitment to the incoming schools, ESPN said. However, the six remaining football-playing schools — USF, Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers and Connecticut — won't commit to raising the fee unless all four commit to joining.

The Big East also is working on a separate deal with Navy, ESPN reported, but the Midshipmen are skeptical of accepting. The Big East was considering adding MAC member Temple, but that is a backup plan now, ESPN said.

Big East commissioner John Marinatto was in Cincinnati on Friday meeting with UCF's president and athletic director. Conferences do not publicly invite new members unless they are confident those invitations will be accepted.

The Big East announced this week it wanted to expand to 12 football schools. Pittsburgh and Syracuse have announced they will leave for the ACC, though Big East rules require them to stay for the next two seasons, and Marinatto has said he will hold the Panthers and Orange to that.

However, that seems unlikely if the league can grow to 12 teams for next season without them.

Big East officials made protecting the league's automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series their expansion priority. That pushed Boise State, in its first season in the Mountain West after a decade in the WAC, to the top of the Big East's most-wanted list, along with the service academies.

Big East officials believe putting Boise State's record (71-5 since 2006) on their ledger when the BCS reviews which leagues should have automatic bids beyond 2013 should allow the conference to make the cut.

The Mountain West does not have an automatic BCS bid. Nor does Conference USA. Those leagues announced Friday they would "consolidate" their football operations into one megaconference that would probably have 20-24 teams when it gets going in 2013.

C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said the president of UCF took part in his conference's vote and that he and Marinatto have been in contact about UCF.

"I hope UCF will stay," he said. "But if a school feels like it's in a better situation somewhere else, that's okay."

C-USA officials told the Orlando Sentinel the earliest the Knights could leave and begin play elsewhere would be 2013. UCF would have to pay about $7 million in exit fees.

Trying to recruit members has been tricky for the Big East because its remaining members might also be looking for new homes.

Louisville and West Virginia are possible targets for the Big 12 if it needs to replace Missouri, which is pondering a move to the SEC, or decides to expand back to 12 teams. UConn has interest in joining the ACC if it expands again.


Conference USA and the Mountain West agree to join forces in football beginning in 2013. 5C

UCF expected to receive invitation to join Big East in all sports

10/14/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 15, 2011 12:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  2. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.
  4. Fennelly: Longtime Bucs fans, we want to hear from you


    Calling all Bucs fans! Calling all Bucs fans!

    Jameis Winston is pressured by Chandler Jones during the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. A punter is the state's only first-team, midseason All-American


    Here's another indictment of how mediocre the state's college football season has become.