Big East Expansion: 2015 Earliest Villanova Can Start Conference Play, According To Report (OR NOT)

Ed. There's some disagreement over whether or not the 2015 start is actually legit if the June 1st deadline passes. So keep that in mind. Regardless, doesn't change much.

Ed. Note 2 - Looks like Mike Kern, the writer of the article, jumped the gun a little. The bylaws state that Nova has until June 1st, 2012 to make a decision, not 2011. So it looks like 2014 is still very much on the table. (H/T: Brian).

I don't think this is too shocking, we pretty much knew going in that Villanova probably wasn't going to be in the conference until 2014-2015 even if they got approved right now. However, since the situation has dragged on (thanks to all parties involved), 2014 seems to be officially out of question.

No one seems to know exactly what's going to happen next, although well-placed sources on both sides seem to agree that nothing is likely to be resolved before June 1. That would mean the earliest the Wildcats could play football in the conference they call home for just about everything else would be 2015 instead of 2014, given the NCAA's mandatory 2-year transitionary period for going up a division to I-A (or Football Bowl Subdivision).

Villanova would have to spend two seasons as a FBS independent, just as UConn did, before officially joining the conference.

This doesn't really change anything. All it does is drive home the point that adding Villanova, while a good long-term move, has no impact on the conference for the foreseeable future. It doesn't prevent schools from leaving the conference for greener pastures and it doesn't raise the value of Big East football. It's a cosmetic move. Short of Villanova suddenly becoming a FBS powerhouse, we won't really appreciate their presence in the football conference until at least 2018-2019. And I'm pretty sure the world is going to end before then, so, there you go.

So what's the deal with all these expansion shenanigans anyway? Where are we at? Not anywhere closer than we were a few weeks ago, apparently. Father Peter Donohue of Villanova sent a letter to Villanova alums yesterday to share the news that there was no news. Though, he did include an excerpt from a letter that John Marinatto's PR rep. typed up and added Marinatto's name to:

Please know that the Big East Conference will continue to work closely with Villanova University as we pursue our ongoing goal of ensuring the Conference's long-term stability, strength and value through football expansion, which will require more time to finalize as we continue our evaluation of the evolving football and media landscapes. I appreciate the outstanding job Villanova has done in its FBS football evaluations over the last nine months and obviously Villanova University continues to be a strong member of the Conference and an attractive candidate for football membership. I am grateful for all the time, effort and energy that both you and Villanova have put into your thorough assessment and presentations, Father, and I appreciate and understand your concerns and personally pledge to continue to work diligently with you and your team as we move forward.

That is a whole lot of words to say...nothing. Typical.

Meanwhile, UCF continues to twiddle its thumbs as it sits by the telephone, not-so-patiently waiting for a call. In fact, the Knights seem to have decided that if the Big East won't invite them, they're just going to start adding Big East teams to their schedule whether they like it or not.

I'd say this is the first-ever instance of a team attempting a hostile takeover of a conference, but then, you know...Texas.

Other Big East Expantion stories...

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