As originally posted here.
The news of Pittsburgh and Syracuse departing the Big East Conference for the ACC leaves USF wondering its NCAA future. The Big East is looking to fulfill a gap securing the program’s future by making it more costly to leave. TCU was going to join the Big East, but opted to join the Big 12 instead.
A vote was held among current members on October 17 passed whether to increase exit fees from $5 million to $10 million. The announcement on the 18th did not introduce any new members. Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said no schools have been invited to join the league contrary to media reports.
Reports suggest the Big East is looking to replace the leaving schools with Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida, while adding Air Force, Navy and Boise State in football only. Marinatto declined to identify any schools currently being targeted.
Standing in the way of those plans is the current merger plan from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA to create a 22-team league in football only, with two divisions and a conference championship game. Boise State and Air Force are in the MWC while UCF, SMU and Houston are in Conference USA.
The Big East is left with six football members: Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Rutgers, Connecticut and USF. Notre Dame is football-independent but supports the Big East in other sports.
Securing the vote for more stringent exit fees could possibly give the potential new candidates incentive to join the Big East as Boise State, Air Force and Navy had prior reservations in joining the conference.
Also standing in the way of the plans are the rumors of existing Big East programs potentially jumping off the sinking ship. Louisville and West Virginia are possible replacements into the Big 12 since losing Missouri. Connecticut and Rutgers are rumored to be looking into the ACC.