NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – Tulane University will become a full member of the Big East Conference and East Carolina will join the league as a football-only member in 2014 in the latest round of conference realignment in college athletics.

Tulane, based in New Orleans, has been abysmal in football recently but has a rich tradition dating back to the days it was a member of the SEC. East Carolina has produced several NFL stars including Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.

Tulane will replace Rutgers University which announced it would leave the Big East for the Big Ten by 2014 at the latest. Rutgers joined Maryland in the exodus to the Big Ten Conference.

Rutgers didn’t give a firm date to leave the conference while it negotiates a possible early exit from the conference under by-laws passed last year. The Big East has negotiated early withdrawals with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia in the last year.

Maryland will have a tougher time getting out of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC announced Tuesday it will file a lawsuit against the university to force the school to pay the $50 million exit fee put into the conference by-laws last year. Maryland and FSU voted against the $50 million fine.

Tulane and East Carolina will become the fifth and sixth Conference USA schools to leave for the Big East Conference in the last two years.

Once additional teams are added to the Big East, the conference is expected to stage a championship game between two divisions. The divisions will be split between a Western and Eastern Division.

The Eastern Division will have: Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, and likely Tulane and East Carolina. The Western Division will have: Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU, and Temple.

Those divisions assume that no further movement happens, but Louisville and UConn both have made it known they would leave for another conference, the Big XII and ACC respectively.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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