Villanova's statement also said it is working with the Big East to "provide whatever additional information we can. It is the university's desire that in the near future its Board of Trustees will proceed with the vote as planned."
Some of the Big East's due diligence is the status of a stadium for Villanova, which has given PPL Park as a possible option. The Big East is thought to want more evidence that PPL Park will become a sustainable, long-term venue for college football.
PPL Park in Chester, which opened last year, seats 18,500 fans. For a team to become a BCS member, it must have 15,000 in actual or paid attendance for all games in its home stadium. The attendance requirement must be met in 1 year over a 2-year period. Villanova Stadium has a capacity of 12,000 and is unlikely to grow.
PPL Park has four possible sites where expansion could take place, raising the capacity from 20,000 to a little more than 30,000, according to Sakiewicz. The addition of an upper deck on the south end, or "River End," section would add about 2,000 seats. Additionally, the concourse level on both the east and west portions of the stadium and the east suites, or "Founding Members" section, can accommodate more seats.
Even with expansion, PPL Park would be the smallest football venue in the Big East. Cincinnati's Nippert Field seats 35,079.
On PPL's end, scheduling and field maintenance remain concerns. Villanova would begin play during the heart of the MLS season. MLS plays a 34-game regular-season from March through October.
"Our stance on this matter has always been the same," Sakiewicz said. "We plan on using this facility for multiple events and welcome the opportunity to host Villanova. We think they are a class organization, and [athletic director] Vince Nicastro is awesome. But it is a soccer stadium first, and we would like to ensure that the integrity of that [natural grass] pitch stays intact."
PPL Park will host the collegiate rugby championships on June 4-5, which should provide a true test of the integrity of PPL Park's Patriot Bermuda grass surface.
"Nick Sakiewicz and his team have been phenomenal in our ongoing discussions regarding PPL Park," Nicastro said. "The stadium is world class."
Representatives of the Big East's current eight football schools held a conference call Sunday to review Villanova's situation. Texas Christian, which does not join the conference as a full member until 2012-13, was not included.
The Wildcats have competed in the Big East in almost every other sport for about 3 decades. But in football, they've been at the I-AA level (now called the Football Championship Subdivision) since the program was restored in the mid-1980s. It had been disbanded some 5 years earlier, not long after Division I was split in two.
The Wildcats won the national FCS title in 2009 and made it to the semifinals last season. *
Daily News sports writers Kerith Gabriel and Mike Kern contributed to this report.