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Big East Presidents Extend Invitations to Potential New Members

Big East Conference school presidents voted to extend invitations to potential new members, Commissioner John Marinatto said after the league’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Marinatto didn’t specify which schools had been invited. The University of Houston and Southern Methodist University will be invited for all sports, while Air Force, Boise State, Central Florida and Navy will be asked to join in football only, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the meeting’s discussions.

“Our presidents voted unanimously to extend invitations to specific institutions, including both football-only and all-sport members,” Marinatto said yesterday in a statement released by the Providence, Rhode Island-based college sports league. “I will be speaking to representatives of those schools shortly and look forward to announcing with them their acceptance into the Big East.”

The conference has five football-playing schools: Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida and Connecticut. The Big East lost the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University to the Atlantic Coast Conference in September, and West Virginia University announced last week that it will leave for the Big 12. Texas Christian University, which had committed to joining the Big East, said it was joining the Big 12 instead.

The Big East needs to expand to retain its automatic Bowl Championship Series bid.

“The addition of these members will extend our reach, bring us to exciting new markets, strengthen our status within the BCS and lay the foundation for possible further expansion,” Marinatto said.

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