Late last night, word broke that Big East officials would meet via teleconference to discuss expansion in the aftermath of likely losing TCU to the Big 12 — the third departure of a Big East member (or soon-to-be) in a matter of weeks.
Turns out, that may have been only half true; Big East presidents did meet via teleconference today, but the topic of conversation was reportedly over raising exit fees, not expansion, according to multiple media outlets.
Anonymous sources tell the Newark Star-Ledger that a set number for an exit fee was not agreed upon in the meeting. In an unrelated story, John and I met via teleconference today to discuss the fact that, down the road — maybe — we should schedule a teleconference to talk about changes we want to make to the site.
With only six football members left — barring a hiccup in the TCU-to-Big 12 negotiations — the future is bleak for the Big East. Raising exit fees, which are currently set at $5 million, should have been done last year after conference realignment settled down.
Agreeing to a set exit fee is evidently a problem, as several Big East members would undoubtedly jump ship the moment a better offer from another BCS conference came along. But, whether it’s raising exit fees or extending invitations to other schools, it matters not. Here’s the predicament:
Big East presidents, on one hand, are dealing with the consequences of the utter ineffectiveness of commissioner John Marinatto to proactively secure his league after last summer’s moderate conference shift.
On the other hand, the process of picking up the pieces is moving at a snail-like pace because programs like Louisville, West Virginia, UConn and Rutgers are almost certainly trying to buy as much time as possible in the event that another conference decides to expand again.
Trying to rebuild the Big East is ultimately a backup plan.