Temple reportedly is added to the mix for Big East football

Posted: September 21, 2011

There has been "mutual interest" between the Big East football conference and Temple, "maybe more intense recently," a source said Tuesday just before officials from schools that play Big East football met in New York.

However, Plan A for the Big East may involve Navy and Air Force, according to reports.

One interested party from outside the Big East used the words "emergency" and "survival" to describe the current stakes.

Villanova has indicated to the league it "would consider moving up" to play Big East football "if asked," according to a Big East source. The school also expressed "caution" based on the lack of a new television contract and an understanding of the makeup of the league.

Some of the expected dominoes across the country now are standing back up. The Pac-12 announced Tuesday it is staying at 12, not taking in Texas, Oklahoma, or anybody else. That means the Big Twelve will hold together, although Texas and the Atlantic Coast Conference still could be a match.

That also means the Big East needs schools.

Right after Tuesday's meeting, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said members had pledged to stay together and "aggressively" recruit members to replace Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the Associated Press reported. "We've taken bold initiatives tonight," Marinatto said, without talking about specific candidates.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse, now headed for the Atlantic Coast Conference, were not represented at the meeting, and the Big East will not let the two schools leave until June 30, 2014, Marinatto said. Connecticut, Rutgers, West Virginia, South Florida, Louisville, and Cincinnati reportedly were expected at the meeting, with incoming member Texas Christian also represented.

Neither of the Philadelphia schools has been mentioned as the first option if the Big East merely replaces Pittsburgh and Syracuse. CBSSportsline reported Tuesday that the Big East had been in the final stages of reaching a deal with Navy to become a football-only member, but that was shelved when Pittsburgh and Syracuse left for the ACC. The same report said Air Force had been another target.

According to an Atlantic Ten source, officials from A-10 schools had a conference call Tuesday night to talk about all realignment issues. Another source said afterward it was an informational meeting, discussing all issues surrounding the current landscape. Developments were fast-moving all day. CBSSportsline reported Tuesday that West Virginia has been turned down by the Southeastern Conference and the ACC, meaning the Mountaineers are likely to remain in this group looking for a home.

Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-313-3041, or mjensen@phillynews.com, or @jensenoffcampus on Twitter.


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