By Brian Murphy
Boise State's new football conference is reportedly growing again. CBSSports.com is reporting that Conference USA member Memphis will become an all-sports member in the Big East in 2013, the same year that Boise State is slated to join for football only.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Memphis will join for the 2013-14 school year and it will cost the school $6.6 million to leave Conference USA – $500,000 in a flat fee plus $6.1 million in per-school share of television rights revenue.
Memphis will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. MT to discuss the future of Memphis Tiger athletics. The Big East will hold a teleconference at 10 a.m. MT to address conference membership. Memphis officials are listed as participants on the call.
The addition of Memphis, which could come as early as this week, would give the Big East 12 football-playing members moving forward — with new members Boise State, Houston, SMU, San Diego State, Memphis, Navy and Central Florida joining existing members Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, South Florida and Connecticut in the far-flung league. Navy, however, will not join the league until 2015.
The Big East's goal has been to get to 12 teams, so it can divide into an east and west division and stage a conference championship game.
Boise State, San Diego State, Houston and SMU are locks for the west division. Memphis could join them. The sixth member of the west could be Louisville, Cincinnati or Central Florida.
Memphis has been dismal in football in recent years, including 2-10 in 2011, but the Tigers' basketball program is well respected and could help solidify the Big East's basketball prowess with the losses of Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
The league is losing West Virginia and invited member TCU to the Big 12, Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC.
Boise State President Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman last week that the Broncos' football team is unlikely to move to the Big East in 2012. Boise State announced in December that its football program would join the Big East for the 2013 football season.
"It's too late. I can't imagine how anyone can pull that off. We would never want to pull it off in a fashion that dealt shabbily with our existing partners in the Mountain West. I don't think that could ever work," Kustra said.
West Virginia is seeking to leave the Big East and join the Big 12 for the 2012 football season. If West Virginia leaves the Big East, it would have just seven football-playing members in 2012.