NEW YORK – The Big East’s long-awaited additions are set, with more rebuilding to come.
The conference is preparing to announce the additions of Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, Central Florida and SMU for all sports as soon as today, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The five schools will join in 2013.
The person spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out with the schools and plans for an announcement were being completed.
The Big East has been trying to rebuild as a 12-school football conference since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be moving to the ACC and West Virginia announced it was leaving for the Big 12. TCU also reneged on a commitment to join the Big East and instead accepted an invite to the Big 12.
The Star-Ledger in New Jersey first reported the Big East was on the verge of making the additions.
The Big East has also been pursuing Navy and Air Force as football-only members, but the military academies are not yet ready to commit to the conference, the person said.
While the Big East is finally about to expand, it’s still a conference in flux.
Commissioner John Marinatto has pledged to hold Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to the league bylaws and keep the schools in the Big East for two more football seasons. Syracuse, Pitt and the ACC have said they would like to move on as soon as possible, but are not challenging the Big East’s rules.
Houston, SMU and UCF play in Conference USA and the notification date for those schools to switch leagues next year has passed.
Boise State is in its first season as a member of the Mountain West, where San Diego State also competes.
CBSSports.com reported Boise State will place its other sports teams in the Western Athletic Conference, a league it left after last season, and that SDSU’s other teams will compete in the Big West.
The Big East eventually wants to have two divisions of six teams and be able to hold a conference title game.
The grand plan is to have Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and possibly current member Louisville in the west division.
The east division would have current members South Florida, Rutgers, Connecticut and Cincinnati, along with UCF.
The Big East is hoping that Air Force can round on the west and Navy the east. But, for now, that’s still just a plan.