[to top of second column]
Right now, the Big East has only six schools committed to play football in the league beyond this season.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse have announced they will move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, though Big East rules require them to stay in the league for the next two seasons and Marinatto has said he will hold the Panthers and Orange to that. However, that's unlikely if the league can grow to 12 teams for next season without them.
TCU was slated to join the Big East in 2012, but the Horned Frogs reneged on that commitment and accepted an invite to the Big 12 last week.
Trying to recruit new members has been tricky for the Big East because its remaining members might also be looking for new conference 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 Southeastern Conference, or decides to expand back to 12 teams.
Connecticut has interest in joining the ACC if it expands again, and there has been speculation about Rutgers moving, too.
By raising the exit fee, the Big East is trying to show the schools it has been recruiting that the conference will be stable in the long run. Boise State, Air Force and Navy, an independent in football, all had reservations about the Big East's long-term health.
SMU and Houston would replace the Texas presence the Big East thought it was going to have with TCU and would help make the move to the Big East more palatable to Boise State.
Boise, Idaho, is nearly 1,900 miles from the closest current Big East member, Louisville. Though the trip to Houston is about as far, having a presence in Texas is alluring to Boise State.
Boise State and Air Force would have to find conferences to house their other sports. A return to the WAC is possible for both, though WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said Friday that he has only had hypothetical conversations with Boise State and Air Force officials about those schools joining as non-football members.
The Big East also has eight members that do not compete in football: Villanova, Georgetown, St. John's, Providence, Seton Hall, Marquette, DePaul and Notre Dame.
Notre Dame's goal is to remain a football independent, but if the Big East crumbles the Fighting Irish could end up with no place for their basketball, baseball and Olympic sports to compete. That could force Notre Dame to finally give up football independence and put its storied program in a conference, because it's unlikely another league will give the Irish the same deal they have in the Big East.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor