The drama surrounding the San Diego St. Aztecs and their decision between staying in the Mountain West or heading to the Big East could finally be known as Big East representatives meet in Dallas on Friday.
CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler reports this today that the Big East "is prepared to move on with or without" the Aztecs:
San Diego State will attend the Big East's meeting of athletic directors and presidents Friday in Dallas to "hear what is envisioned there," Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said.
After talking with some Big East folks on the matter, there doesn't seem to be some big sales pitch prepared to keep San Diego State, which was scheduled to join the Big East on July 1 until Boise State opted to return to the MWC on Dec. 31.
That seems to fly in the face of unconfirmed Internet rumors that SDSU and the Houston Cougars would be given "an ultimatum" at today's meetings.
In fact, it sounds like embattled Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has given up the ghost regarding SDSU and does not think the Big East West Division will be able to draw in any teams currently in the Mountain West.
As for the MWC and SDSU, Fowler reports that Thompson is still in constant contact with the Aztec brass, though a invite by league presidents (with its required three-quarters approval for SDSU's re-entry) "is not imminent":
Meanwhile, Thompson told CBSSports.com Thursday night he's been talking to SDSU president Elliot Hirshman "probably every day this week" about the dynamics of rejoining the MWC...
"I think it's cracking pretty well," Thompson said. "The devil's in the details, but no one's saying, 'No, let's shift gears.' They've spoken with CBS, TV consultants, trying to understand the whole TV structure and package."
Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant reports that embattled Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is looking for a consensus at today's meeting on the league's future a they move forward without the so-called "Catholic 7" and try to hold on to the schools added when the Conference began what may be an ill-fated attempt at setting up a Western Division of the Eastern-based athletic league.
Also on the table for discussion is expansion, as reports have surfaced that the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and UMass Minutemen, newcomers to the Football Bowl Subdivision, could be targets as well.
Writer Paul Doyle wrote yesterday that the meeting of old Big East (the Connecticut Huskies, Cincinnati Bearcats, South Florida Bulls, Temple Owls, and incoming members (the Central Florida Knights, Tulane Green Wave, Memphis Tigers, SMU Mustangs, East Carolina Pirates, Navy Midshipmen along with UH and SDSU) is as much to assess where the league is now as much as where it is going.
San Diego State was to enter with (the Boise State Broncos)... San Diego State might decide to also remain in the Mountain West, although Aresco said last week he hopes the school remains committed to the conference and he'll try to convince school officials to join.
Various reports have confirmed that San Diego State has until Jan. 31 to decide its future athletic home.
Meanwhile, Aresco is reportedly still looking at moves the shore up the Big East - but will they include a Western Division? Doyle speculates that the UNLV Rebels and Fresno State Bulldogs (among others) may still be wooed by the Big East.
It's unclear if the Big East will need to replace Boise State with another Western school, such as UNLV or Fresno State. Aresco said there are definite plans for expansion and that he did not believe the addition of another Western school was necessary.
One thing that will definitely be addressed today is football scheduling and the structure of two football divisions. The Courants also speculates that East Carolina will be extended a full membership invitation, an upgrade from it's current football-only invite.
Meanwhile, over at his AJerseyGuy.com blog, sports journalist Mark Blaudschund wrote about the impending Big East meetings on Wednesday. His report has a lot of the same information and quotes that have surfaced this week from Aresco, but he does bring the Air Force Falcons, BYU Cougars and a Big East West Division back into the conversation.
With Boise State gone, Aresco is looking for another "western" based team, with Air Force and BYU the obvious main targets, but Tulsa has emerged as another contender as an all sports member.
Aresco might have to do some selling since Tulsa reportedly was luke warm to the idea when first approached by the Big East earlier last fall. The Big East then switched its focus to Tulane, which will join the conference as a full member in 2014.
Blauschund affirms other reports that Aresco is still working on keeping SDSU in the Big East:
He has been constantly working on keeping San Diego State as part of the new group, using the argument that the Big East/ Big West (for other sports) is a more financially lucrative package for San Diego State than as a full member of the Mountain West.
But is he talking daily to the Aztecs, like MWC Commish Craig Thompson?... who knows?
The only thing certain for now is that MW Connection will be watching the proceedings today and will pass along ay big news that surfaces. Happy Friday everyone!