Memphis joining Big East; Villanova football, Temple still on outs

Posted: February 09, 2012

THE BIG EAST is done expanding. For now. Or at least until the next defection.

Which, judging by how many members have moved on in the last 6 months, might not be that far off.

As expected, the conference yesterday officially announced that it is bringing in Memphis for all sports beginning in 2013-14. The Big East recently added Central Florida, SMU and Houston for all sports, and Boise State, Navy and San Diego State for football only.

By 2015, when Navy finally comes aboard, the Big East will have 12 teams for football and 17 for basketball.

Of course, Louisville, which nearly jumped to the Big 12 in December before losing out to fellow Big East member West Virginia, could be gone by then if the Big 12 expands from 10 back to a dozen. Maybe Cincinnati, too. Sources say Rutgers has been telling recruits it plans on being in the Big Ten sooner than later. And Connecticut is on record as saying it would like to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which already is taking Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East.

TCU once agreed to join the Big East, but then, before ever playing a game, decided on the Big 12 instead.

"Our stated goal was to create a 12-team [football] league with two divisions and a championship game," Big East commissioner John Marinatto said. "We don't have any plans to accelerate [that process before 2015] . . . Nothing stays the same. It's an ongoing evolution. Something that sounds odd today will be accepted 5 years from now. This is just another piece of evidence to support that.

"Obviously, we've fulfilled our primary objective. We'll always continue to evaluate our different options as time goes on. Never, never say never, I guess."

So for now, the future doesn't include Temple, which is a member of the Mid-American Conference in football and the Atlantic 10 in basketball and other sports. Or even Villanova coming in for football from the Colonial Athletic Association, which last April appeared about to happen. Yet at some point there will really be no other viable options left. The next opening is just another departure away. And Temple would figure to be in that mix. Some close to the situation continue to say Villanova, a Big East member in basketball and other sports, is still also a possibility. Perhaps the Big East will eventually want/need both. I mean, who else is out there? Air Force? BYU? East Carolina? Army? Massachusetts?

Anyone we missed?

Don't touch those dials. Given the stability factor, at this rate, the Big East could always hold another news conference by Easter.

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