By Brian Murphy
The Big East is getting bigger — again.
Boise State's new football conference announced the addition of Memphis as an all-sports member on Wednesday afternoon. With Memphis, the Big East will have 12 football-playing members beginning in 2015 when Navy joins.
Memphis will join on July 1, 2013, the same date that Boise State is scheduled to become a member.
Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said the league does not plan to have a conference title game until 2015 when Navy joins. He also said the league does not plan to add additional football-playing members, unless something changes with the membership.
"It was our goal to get to 12 football-playing members. We're pleased we have fulfilled our primary objective," Marinatto said.
Marinatto would not answer a question about a new member potentially joining in 2012 to offset the potential loss of West Virginia to the Big 12. Boise State President Bob Kustra said it is likely "too late" for the Broncos to join the Big East in 2012.
"The question is related to the impending litigation that we're involved in," said Marinatto, who added that part of the appeal of adding Memphis over other schools was its ability to play in the west division.
CBSSports.com is reporting that West Virginia and the Big East are nearing a $20 million settlement and that West Virginia is trying to convince one of the future members to join the Big East in 2012.
Marinatto said he has high hopes for Memphis' dismal football program. "We fully expect Tiger football to return to form that went to five bowl games" in the early 2000s, Marinatto said.
The Big East said its television reach will be more than 31 million homes — or nearly 28 percent of all U.S. households — when it adds its new members.
In 2015, the Big East football membership will consist of Boise State, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State, SMU and South Florida.
In 2015, the Big East basketball membership will include Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Houston, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John’s, Seton Hall, SMU, South Florida and Villanova.
Report: Conference USA to discuss merger with Mountain West this week
The long-discussed Conference USA-Mountain West merger could be moving forward this week,
ESPN.com reports.. The Conference USA Board of Directors will discuss the merger this week.
Akey on Boise State's Big East move
I spoke with Idaho football coach Robb Akey last week for a story on the Vandals' fortunes. (You can read my column here.)
But one of the things Akey talked about what conference realignment and here's what he had to say about Boise State's move to the Big East.
"Boise had to go to the Big East. There’s no way they couldn’t do that. They’ve been trying so hard and saying so many things. They finally got a chance to be in what is a qualifying conference, they had to take that," Akey said. "But for the Big East to go all the way to San Diego, it’s pretty bizarre."