MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The Big East Conference has played host to the University of Miami among others and has a legendary basketball presence.
But that may be about to change as the conference re-alignment jumble could put a death nail into the once flourishing conference.
According to CBSSports.com, once the University of Missouri officially makes a move to the SEC, the Big XII Conference is set to extend an official invitation to join the conference to West Virginia University.
West Virginia is expected to accept an official invite once it’s extended. For the Mountaineers, the timing will be crucial. If WVU leaves before the Big East adds Navy or Air Force, the exit fee will be $5 million. If WVU leaves after the addition of Navy & Air Force, the exit fee jumps to $10 million.
Assuming Missouri tips the first domino and West Virginia leaves the Big East, the conference is likely to lose its lucrative standing as an automatic qualifier to the BCS.
If WVU leaves, the conference will have lost the Mountaineers, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and TCU in the span of just a few weeks. That would leave the Big East with UConn, Rutgers, USF, Louisville, and Cincinnati as football playing schools.
UConn has already made it known that if the ACC extends them an invitation, they will also leave the conference. Louisville has also been mentioned as a possible Big XII target if the conference decides to expand to 12 teams.
The Big East has not extended any official invitations to schools, but has met with officials from Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, and Navy in the past week.
Even if the conference lands all of those schools, and Boise State hasn’t been exactly warming up to joining a dying conference, the conference would need another football power school.
According to CBSSports.com, that final team could be BYU. The Cougars had discussions with the Big XII about joining, but BYU’s refusal to play on Sundays helped block that avenue. BYU is currently an independent school, free of any conference affiliation in the money sport of football.
So, the Big East’s future BCS status, hinges on when Missouri makes its move and West Virginia decides to pack up and leave. It also will depend on exactly which football teams it can talk into joining the conference.
It also depends on what action the Pac-12 may decide to take. The conference could choose to quickly add Boise State and another school, perhaps Hawaii or Fresno State, and jump to 14 teams to keep up with the size of the other conferences.
If Boise State doesn’t accept a possible invitation, then the Big East’s BCS spot will likely be stripped. That’s as long as a team like Notre Dame doesn’t finally choose to join a conference in football, like say the Big East, where all of its teams other than football play.