College, Miami and Pittsburgh) want to include the football-only schools (Temple, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Rutgers) as full members for both sports.
The basketball-only schools have a choice. Include the other four schools or dangle in the wind. Bet on the former.
When that happens, the Atlantic 10 basketball conference - which includes Temple, West Virginia and Rutgers (Virginia Tech is in the Metro Conference for basketball) - will become the "Atlantic 6."
"Since Nov. 22, when it appeared that the football schools in the Big East, primarily Boston College, started a plan of how to convince the other guys to vote for expansion, the 'Big East 6' (the basketball-only schools) and the 'Atlantic 6' have had independent meetings," said St. Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia.
The "Atlantic 6" would consist of St. Joe's, St. Bonaventure, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, George Washington and Duquesne.
Once the Big East comes to a conclusion about what it wants to do, the Atlantic 10 will act. The Atlantic 10 wanted to act back in November, but Temple, West Virginia and Rutgers voted against expansion (seven votes were needed). Back then, the other six members wanted to invite Xavier to join.
Now, the same three Big East wannabes are waiting until their full admission to the league is official until one of them will agree to vote for A-10 expansion. Basically, the A-10 is being held hostage until the Big East deal is done.
Once that deal is done, it would be hard to imagine those three schools continuing to hold the A-10 back. Even in the dirty dealing of '90s college athletics, that would be way below the belt.
Again, keeping in mind that nothing will change for the next basketball season, it seems likely that the A-10 eventually would invite Xavier and La Salle (which are in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and don't want to be) to fill out an eight-team basketball conference. The new "A-8" would not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for one year, but would be a pretty solid basketball conference.
There are still other possible scenarios, but a Big East super conference with 14 teams could continue to have an eight-team football conference and two seven-team divisions for basketball. And the "Atlantic 8" could find its niche as well.