The Big East won't officially extend invites to any schools until the remaining schools agree to an increased exit fee, according to a report.
The Big East wants the remaining six football playing schools -- UConn, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida, and West Virginia -- to agree to an increase in the current $5 million buyout to $10 million. Once the schools agree to the higher exit fee, the Big East is expected to invite Air Force, Boise State, and Navy as football-only schools and Central Florida, Houston, and SMU for all sports, according to the New York Post.
The agreement, according to the Post, could happen soon but the Big East won't officially extend any invites ahead of its basketball media day in New York on Wednesday. The Big East doesn't want the expansion talk to overshadow the media day, but it'll undoubtedly be a prime source of conversation during the event.
If the Big East is able to add all of those programs -- it's no guarantee all will accept the invite -- it'll help add some much needed stability to a conference on the ropes. The Big East only has six football programs and stood to lose a lot if the conference didn't add some quality schools as soon as possible.
Not only is its status as a BCS automatic qualifier in doubt going forward -- though it could have the status until 2015 -- but the conference's television rights are also up for grabs.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto left a very big deal -- billion dollars big -- on the table last summer in hopes for more money. But then the conference realignment carousel started up again, the Big East lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and suddenly the conference's survival was in serious doubt.
The Big East might not get quite that much when it finally reaches a deal, but certainly helps its chances by potentially adding a nice mix of big-time programs, fan bases, and television markets.
Boise State -- currently fifth in BCS standings -- instantly would become the premier football program in the Big East. Air Force and Navy both offer strong fan bases for service academies, while Central Florida (Orlando), Houston, and SMU (Dallas) represent solid programs in big media markets.
If the Big East is able to convince all of these schools to join, it'd be a bit of a blow to recently announced Mountain West and Conference USA alliance. The two conferences announced on Friday that the two would form an alliance in either 2012 or 2013 of the combined 22 schools for football-only. The announcement was short on details of how the alliance would work, but five of the six schools the Big East is targeting are in the super alliance.
The Big East swiping five schools wouldn't doom the proposed alliance, but it'll be a big hit to lose the most marketable and well-known programs.