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Big East Conference Realignment: Marinatto Speaks

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Update 3:13PM - The AP is now reporting that the 3 football-only schools are Boise State, Air Force and Navy.

Big East Commish John Marinatto met with the league presidents today to discuss and vote on the specific institutions they would invite to replace the departing West Virginia, Syracuse and Pittsburgh programs. Marinatto not only mentioned invites for football only, but also all-sports memberships that would be offered. 

Marinatto also commented on the forthcoming lawsuit from West Virginia. 

The full statement is below:

 

"We had a very productive meeting and were able to discuss the great progress we have made in the last few weeks regarding conference realignment.

"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."

 

Marinatto added in his comments to the media that the conference's goal would be to get to 12 football schools.

What this means: The consensus around Twitter right now seems to be that the Big East is going to invite six schools to join. Pete Thamel of the New York Times (and pretty much the foremost reporter on all this Big East expansion/realignment stuff) tweeted: "Big East announcement appears to mean that UCF, Houston and SMU are on their way. Those were the locks." Take that for what you will.

If that is indeed accurate, all three schools would theoretically join for all-sports, as no one has really mentioned those three in football-only terms in the past few weeks. That leaves three football-only schools out of the rumored six invitations. Now, if Marinatto is serious about having 12 football schools in the future, then 4 football-only schools would need to join, but Adam Zagoria tweeted that the presidents would leave that discussion for another day. 

In my personal opinion, not adding Temple in this scenario is just plain dumb. It makes too much sense to invite them. Rumor is that Villanova is blocking them, and I honestly cannot see a valid reason why. 

Feel free to share your thoughts below. As you know, no football program means no cards to play for Seton Hall, but this affects everyone, so despite SHU not being relevant in regards to expansion, this issue still means something.