Yankee, MetLife Stadiums Interested in Big East Title Game

Yankee and MetLife stadiums would be interested in hosting the Big East Conference’s proposed football championship game once the college league expands to 12 members.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said on a media conference call yesterday that the league would like to hold a championship game in New York after it adds six football members.

Yankees President Randy Levine and Mark Lamping, chief executive officer of New Meadowlands Stadium Co. where the National Football League’s Jets and Giants play, both said yesterday they would be amenable to staging the game.

“We would like to do a championship game here in New York City. How great that would be,” Marinatto said on the call. “We want to quickly resolve this, but we realize there are a number of moving pieces. We’re not going to rush ourselves to meet anyone’s deadline.”

Yankee Stadium will host a game between Big East member Rutgers University and the U.S. Military Academy on Nov. 12. Army played the University of Notre Dame, which competes in the Big East in all sports except football, last year in the first college game in the new stadium and drew 54,000 fans.

Lamping said the stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, would welcome a Big East championship title game.

“We’re bullish on college football in the New York market,” Lamping said. “We have a lot of respect for the Big East conference.”

Exit Fee Increase

Marinatto also said the Providence, Rhode Island-based college sports league will increase its exit fee to $10 million for football schools as soon as it adds one more member. No invitations have been announced in its effort to expand. The conference would consider teams outside the Eastern and Central time zones, Marinatto said, declining to name schools under consideration.

The Houston Chronicle, citing a person it didn’t identify, reported that the University of Houston had received a Big East invitation. Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN reported the Big East wants to add Boise State in Idaho and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as football-only members, and Houston and Dallas-based Southern Methodist University as all-sports members.

The Big East lost the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University to the Atlantic Coast Conference last month. Texas Christian University, which had committed to joining the Big East, said it was joining the Big 12 Conference instead.

The Big East’s football champion automatically qualifies for the Bowl Championship Series until the current contract expires after the 2013 season.

No Championship Game

The conference currently doesn’t have a football championship game, awarding the title to the team with the best record. It holds its annual men’s basketball championship tournament at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The remaining six football-playing schools in the Big East are Rutgers, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and Connecticut. Under the new rule, once the conference expands by one football school, the new fee takes effect.

The exit fee will remain at $5 million for the eight non-football members -- DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall, Marquette, Villanova, St. Johns, Notre Dame and Georgetown.