The Big East will make a serious push to keeping San Diego State as a member in football and it will also focus on adding Tulsa as member in all sports according to sources familiar with the overall planning the conference is making to restructure its future.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco will meet with Big East Presidents and Athletic Directors at an airport hotel in Dallas on Friday to discuss the overall strategy.
The most pressing issue will be the configuration of the football league for next season. The original plan had been a 12-team two division conference with the addition of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, Memphis and Central Florida as new members joining Cincinnati, South Florida, Temple, Louisville, Rutgers and Connecticut.
Those plans had to be changed, however, when the 7 Catholic non FBS Big East schools—Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul, Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s decided– to break off to form their ow league and Boise State backed out of the deal and decided to remain in the Mountain West.
With only 11 teams in football, the plans for a championship game (12 teams are required) were put on hold and Aresco also had to make plans to find replacements for Louisville and Rutgers who made deals to join the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten.
All of these changes have created an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty that Aresco has had to deal with, while also negotiating new television contracts in football and basketball.
“It has been challenging to say the least,” said Aresco on Wednesday as he made his plans for the meeting in Dallas on Friday. “But we’re going to work our way through this and come up with a good league that will work for our members.”
Aresco would not discuss specifics, other than to say the meeting in Dallas would include “every aspect of what we are trying to do.”
The first issue will bet settle the football make up of the league for 2013. The Big East is fairly confident in can keep Louisville and Rutgers for one more season and then replace them with Tulane and East Carolina in 2014 and add Navy in football in 2015.
He has been constantly working on keeping San Diego State as part of the new group, using the argument that the Big East/ Big West (for other sports) is a more financially lucrative package for San Diego State than as a full member of the Mountain West.
The Big East expects a final decision by San Diego State in the next few weeks. San Diego State officials are expected to be in Dallas for Friday’s meetings.
With Boise State gone, Aresco is looking for another “western” based team, with Air Force and BYU the obvious main targets, but Tulsa has emerged as another contender as an all sports member.
Aresco might have to do some selling since Tulsa reportedly was luke warm to the idea when first approached by the Big East earlier last fall. The Big East then switched its focus to Tulane, which will join the conference as a full member in 2014.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.