NEW YORK – Big East schools gave a go-ahead Monday for the conference to expand to as many as 12 teams for football, a move that could involve adding six members.
The schools’ presidents and chancellors gave approval for the league to talk with outside schools. The Big East said in a statement that it’s considering moving to a model that includes 12 football playing schools.
The Big East has been ravaged in the ongoing conference shuffles, losing longtime members. The move Monday is the Big East’s first formal attempt to make up for its losses.
Syracuse and Pittsburgh started the exodus by deciding to leave for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The governor of Connecticut has said UConn also is interested in the ACC, and there has been speculation that Rutgers, too, could leave the Big East.
The league thought it had strengthened its football status by adding Texas Christian. But TCU reversed course and formally accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 on Monday. TCU would have to pay the Big East a $5 million fee to leave without ever playing a league game.
Without TCU, the Big East would be down to six football schools: West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati, South Florida, Rutgers and Connecticut. The league also includes DePaul, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, Providence and Notre Dame for sports other than football.
East Carolina has applied for membership to the Big East. Conference USA members Central Florida and Memphis also have been looking to join a conference with an automatic bid in the Bowl Championship Series.
Former Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian said over the weekend that Notre Dame could be forced to join a conference for football if the move toward a few super conferences continues.
SEC to stand pat
Southeastern Conference leaders met Monday in Birmingham, Ala., for their regularly scheduled fall meeting but took no action on expansion.
The SEC says in a statement that the presidents and chancellors discussed a wide range of issues dealing with the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics but didn’t make any moves on expansion.
The SEC is adding a 13th member when Texas A&M joins the league in July.
University of Missouri curators have given Chancellor Brady Deaton the authority to explore a move to another conference rather than immediately commit to the reeling Big 12.
A Missouri move to the SEC could generate as much as $12 million more in annual TV revenue, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
The curators reviewed the 45-page document that outlines the pros and cons of leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. The AP obtained the report from a university official familiar with the discussions who is not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.
Arizona coach out
Coach Mike Stoops has been fired halfway through his eighth season at Arizona. Athletic director Greg Byrne announced Stoops’ dismissal Monday, two days after the Wildcats lost their fifth straight game, 37-27, at previously winless Oregon State.
Dating to last season, Arizona has lost 10 of 11 games.