John Marinatto did his best Wyatt Earp impression Tuesday, telling West Viriginia that "you called down the thunder, well now you've got it." The Big East is charging ahead business as usual, inviting six new members to join the conference and vowing to fight West Virginia's lawsuit and keep them (and Syracuse & Pitt) in the Big East for the 27-month time period in the bylaws.
"Our Presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members to join the BIG EAST Conference. I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the BIG EAST. The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS, and lay the foundation for possible further expansion, all while maintaining the high quality and standards our Conference is known for.
"In light of the lawsuit filed by West Virginia yesterday, the Presidents also discussed and confirmed our continuing commitment to enforce the Conference’s 27-month notification period for schools choosing to leave. The Conference believes these claims to be wholly without merit and will explore all its legal options to protect its interests and to ensure that West Virginia lives up to its obligations."
There was a nasty rumor floating out there at first that the Big East was inviting non-football partners, but it was debunked. Had it been true, it would have been a punch in the gut to the remaining football schools (on top of their previous gut-punches).
The smart money is on invites to Navy, Air Force, Boise St., SMU, Houston and UCF but keep Memphis and Temple handy in your back pocket.
And remember, if the Big East does hold us to the 27-months, there's a good chance we'll be seeing these guys on the schedule at some point. As Adam Zagoria points out, we're stuck here until June 2014, meaning the 2014 football season & 2014-2015 basketball season. (Actually, Zags is a numbnuts...it's June 2013)