With Boise State’s decision to back out on a deal to join the Big East and remain in the Mountain West, the general assumption has been that San Diego State, which was also scheduled to jump from the MWC to the Big East on July 1, would follow the Broncos’ lead and also back out of the Big East arrangment.
“The Big East hasn’t heard anything officially, but they (San Diego State) want to stay (with the Big East),” said one source familiar with the discussions that are being conducted between the Big East and SD State.
Whether that is wishful thinking from Big East officials or a realistic option remains to be seen.
When San Diego and Boise State made their original decision to join the Big East last year, a clause in the agreement allowed San Diego State to back out of the deal without penalty if there was no other school west of the Rocky Mountains (Boise State) in the new 12 team configuration of the Big East.
Another “buddy system” deal in the contract involving the two schools also states that the Mountain West must ask San Diego State whether it wants to return as the MWC’s 12th team before it can invite any other school, according to a report in the Idaho Statesmen. The time frame on that deal is the end of January.
When Boise State announced it’s decision not to come to the Big East on New Year’s Eve, many San Diego State backers assumed that the Aztecs would quickly follow suit. What surprised more than a few people at San Diego State was the less than enthusiastic response from schools in the Mountain West to endorse the move.
That reluctance of acceptance has prompted San Diego State officials to wonder whether their best option is to stay with Boise State or venture off on their own as the Big East’s primary West Coast entry.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco, who was in New Orleans on Wednesday night watching Big East champion Louisville upset Florida in the Sugar Bowl, has maintained that the next move for the Big East would be to focus on a West coast partner for both San Diego State and Boise State. If Aresco can keep San Diego State, he is expected to target schools such as Fresno State, Nevada, BYU or UNLV. Aresco has lobbied SD State officials consistently over the past few weeks, emphasizing their importance in the overall expansion plan the Big East has put together.
Although the best the Big East can probably expect at this point is to field an 11 team conference next season–which would prevent the creation of a conference (a minimum of 12 teams is required) championship game, Aresco feels that with Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) remaining for one more year and new schools such as SMU and Central Florida on the upswing, the Big East will be very competitive in its final year with an automatic BCS bowl bid.
Aresco has also had to deal with the defection of 7 Catholic schools–Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown and DePaul. The Presidents of that group are expected to meet on Friday to discuss their exit strategy.
According to sources familiar with the process, the Catholic 7 first official act will be to negotiate a departure from the Big East a year earlier than the July 1, 2015 date previously announced.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.