The Big East would like to have a conference championship game in New York City once it expands to 12 football-playing schools, according to commissioner John Marinatto.

Marinatto made the announcement during a teleconference call with reporters to discuss the conference's realignment and expansion plans.

The commissioner announced that the 14 members schools of the conference unanimously agreed to pursue expansion to 12 football schools and that a conference championship game in New York City -- similar to what the conference does for basketball -- is part of the reasoning.

The Big East set the conference call after intense speculation over what schools would get an invitation to join the league. On Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Big East had officially extended an invitation to Houston, but Marinatto flatly denied that any school had been extended an official invitation.

The commissioner said that he cannot publicly identify any of the schools that the conference is interested in, but that we are very happy with the quality of schools that are interested in joining the conference.

The most speculated schools that the Big East is pursuing are Air Force, Boise State, and Navy as football-only members, while adding Central Florida, Houston, and SMU as full members. Earlier reports speculated that some of the pursued schools wanted to see the conference increase its buyout fee, which the conference unanimously did.

The 14 remaining schools -- not including Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- unanimously agree to bump up the exit fee for football schools to $10 million as soon as a new school joins the conference. As a hypothetical, as soon as Air Force agreed to join the Big East, the exit fee would then increase to $10 million for all of the football-playing schools.

The announcement was made after a teleconference had by all schools an hour after a New York Times report that called Missouri applying to the SEC imminent and inevitable.

Even though Missouri leaving the Big 12 for the SEC could put a major wrench in the Big East's expansion plans -- especially if the Big 12 targets Louisville and/or West Virginia -- but Marinatto said on Tuesday that the Big East was not going to wait around for Missouri to decide what it wanted to do.

The primary goal for the Big East, according to Marinatto, is to not rushing to meet anyone's deadlines, but to make a move sooner rather than later.

Marinatto added the important caveat that the Big East won't blindside or bushwhack any conference with one of its expansion moves -- a clear jab at the ACC for poaching Pittsburgh and Syracuse behind the Big East's back.

I think there's a right way of doing something, Marinatto said. (We) will do it in an open manner and make sure our new members will be forthcoming when they are departing.

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