Big East Expansion Included Air Force, Navy As Possibilities

Conference realignment rumors and reports are coming out of everywhere. The latest is a big surprise regarding the Big East, Air Force Falcons and the Navy Midshipman. Prior to Syracuse and Pitt going to the ACC the Big East was extremely close to adding Navy as a football-only member as well as Air Force:

Before the sudden news broke last weekend that Pittsburgh and Syracuse were leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East was in the final stages of acquiring Navy as a football-only member

No official invitation was extended by the league, but both parties had extensive discussions about Navy joining the league in football only and it very well could have happened in the next couple of weeks, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.

Besides Navy, the Big East also was targeting Air Force and league sources felt confident both schools would have been Big East members, perhaps within the next year - that is until Pitt and Syracuse announced they were leaving for the ACC.

The news about Navy joining the Big East as a football-only member has been mentioned in May and July and was received as just rumor by the general public and not all that serious. However, this latest news was received as a desperate pull by the Big East who are in danger of losing their FBS affiliation with only seven teams being scheduled in the league come 2014. That could be sooner if Syracuse and Pitt are able to leave the league early.

 

 

Adding Air Force is a head scratcher, because from the sounds of it they would be a full-fledged Big East member. The travel would be insane for basketball and the non-revenue sports, and I don't think adding Air Force and Navy for football would bring in that much extra money to make it worth it.

Having said that, the Big East would have been receiving a solid rivalry with a decent amount of national interest, and forgetting geography for a moment Air Force would be able to fit in right away and be competitive in the Big East. 

Now with Pitt and Syracuse on their way it is not clear if Air Force and/or Navy would be interested in joining a league full of so much uncertainty. Actually, I feel that Air Force would join the Big East as would Navy because that would put them at a minimum of nine teams after the defections of Pitt and Syracuse (West Virginia has already been rejected by the SEC and ACC) the league would still be a BCS league, and therefore Air Force would enjoy a higher profile and larger cut of the money.

No one knows what will happen during this fluid situation, but I feel confident saying Air Force is not going to the Big East.

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