The Big East wants to expand to 12 football teams and “the sooner the better.’’
The problem is the Big East can’t be sure if its current members are staying put until Missouri, the Big 12, and the Southeastern Conference figure out what their next steps will be in the ongoing drama of conference realignment.
“The overall landscape is still so very unsettled,’’ John Marinatto, the Big East commissioner, said yesterday during a conference call.
“We’re not going to pause until the Missouri situation is settled because it might not be settled for a while.’’
The Big East’s presidents unanimously voted Monday night to increase the league’s withdrawal fee from $5 million to $10 million when an expansion plan is executed, Marinatto said.
Marinatto declined to talk about specific schools the Big East wants to add, but did say the Big East has “identified specific teams, and if any one of those teams commits [to joining the league], the exit fee increases.’’
A person with knowledge of the Big East’s plan told the Associated Press that the addition of Navy or Air Force would trigger the increase in the exit fee. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about which schools the league is targeting.
The conference’s plan to get to 12 members includes Navy, Air Force, and Boise State as football-only members and Central Florida, Houston, and SMU for all sports, though that has not been made public by the league.
Marinatto said no invitations have gone out and he could not give a timetable for when the Big East hopes to complete its expansion work.
“We’re not going to rush ourselves,’’ he said. “The sooner the better.’’
Florida coach Will Muschamp is cleaning up his act. Well, at least his language.
Muschamp apologized for his colorful words that were caught by television cameras during his team’s 17-6 loss at Auburn last week. But the emotional first-year coach said he has no plans to temper his sideline antics.
“Just the language,’’ he said.
Louisville has agreed to a seven-year contract with Charlie Strong. The deal increases Strong’s base salary from $1.6 million to $2.3 million. Strong led Louisville to its first bowl game in three years - a 31-28 win over Southern Mississippi in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl - in his first season, when he was named co-Big East coach of the year . . . Arkansas unveiled details of an estimated $300 million athletic facilities plan, one that includes the enclosing of the north end zone at Razorback Stadium. The plan could take up to 30 years and affect each of the university’s 19 athletic programs.