By Brian Murphy
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Boise State will officially join the Big East as a football-only member in 2013 on Wednesday. A late afternoon press conference is expected. Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino applauded the job that Big East commissioner John Marinatto has done in rebuilding the league.
"I think what John Marinatto just did, he should get a substantial raise for what he just accomplished," Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino said. "Getting Boise State. Getting Houston, SMU. I think that is as good of a job for a commissioner with his back against the wall as I've seen since I've been in athletics. The teams you lost aren't as good in football as the teams you're bringing in."
The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger first reported that Boise State and four other schools were "on the verge" of joining the Big East. The Boston Globe wrote that the announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.
Boise State and San Diego State will join in football only.
"We defer to the Big East Conference on any announcements regarding its membership," Boise State spokesman Frank Zang said.
The Big East champion is assured of a spot in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game in 2012 and 2013. Boise State (11-1) and Houston (12-1) were left out of the BCS this season.
Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU would be part of a Western Division.
"We would be OK with anything that allows us to get into a BCS conference," San Diego State coach Rocky Long said Tuesday.
"It gives your football program an advantage. It gives your whole athletic department an advantage — more resources, added national exposure, it benefits everybody in the department."
It is possible that Air Force and Navy could join the league as well.
The Idaho State Board of Education granted Boise State President Bob Kustra the authority to move the Broncos' highly-ranked football program to the Big East early in November. At that time, Kustra said he hoped to have the process wrapped up within a week.
But Thursday, Kustra said, "Every day something changes. We're still trying to work it out and where we really are is trying to work out the other sports. That's where we are. It's not easy."
It is still unclear what league Boise State's other sports programs would move to. The Mountain West has said that Boise State would not be allowed to keep its other programs in the conference without the football program.
The Big East currently has five football schools that have not announced their departure — Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers and South Florida.
Here is the Associated Press story:
NEW YORK — A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that The Big East is set to announce the additions of Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and Houston, Central Florida and SMU for all sports as soon as Wednesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details were still being worked out with the schools and plans for a formal announcement were still being completed.
The person says the five new schools will join in 2013.
The Big East has been trying to rebuild as a 12-school football conference since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they would be moving to the ACC and West Virginia announced it was leaving for the Big 12.
The Star-Ledger in New Jersey first reported the Big East was on verge of making the long-awaited additions.