Big East Really Wants BYU

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NBC Connecticut

There hadn't been much news on the conference realignment front recently and, well, it's been a nice break. The start of the college basketball seasons have served as a nice distraction but the reality is that all this conference reshuffling has forced the Big East's hand as they try to remain relevant.

Which means replacing Syracuse, Pitt (they're headed to the ACC) and West Virginia (off to the Big 12). The latest report: the Big East is focused on adding BYU, a school located in Utah and about as far away from the Big East as you can get in the continental United States. But the conference has said previously that its interested in creating a West division and BYU, which would be a football-only school, would be apart of that.

Details via the Associated Press and ESPN:

BYU is seriously considering joining the Big East, a conference source told ESPN's Joe Schad on Tuesday night. BYU is in its first season as football independent. If it did move to the Big East it would be for football only. The school's other teams play in the West Coast Conference.

The Big East is close to adding as many as seven new members, including Boise State, Air Force and Navy for football only, and SMU, Houston and UCF in all sports.

Boise State is primed to make the jump to the Big East. Two weeks ago, the Idaho State Board of Education gave the school permission to pursue membership and leave the Mountain West Conference.

From the Big East's perspective, BYU and Boise State would be the cornerstones of the yet-to-be-created West division. In addition, the plan also includes Air Force, Navy (which, like BYU and Boise State, would be football-only), SMU, Houston and University of Central Florida. These names surfaced weeks ago, in response to the news that Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia were leaving the Big East, and conference commissioner John Marinatto has tried to move quickly to a) reassure current members that the Big East will remain viable, and b) to guarantee that the conference retains its automatic-BCS Bowl-bid status.

More via wire reports:

Part of the Big East's recruiting pitch has been that the new members would stand to make substantially more in television revenue by joining the league.

Boise State President Bob Kustra estimated the annual payout to Big East football members at $3.7 million under its current TV contract, compared to the $1.9 million projected as the top payout in the Mountain West. Big East officials believe the league will be able to more than double payouts to members with the league's next TV deal.

As we've said from the moment Syracuse and Pitt announced they were relocating to the ACC: at the end of the day this is about one thing: money.

There's still plenty to be sorted out in the coming weeks and months, most notably, where UConn ends up. Because they've been conspicuously quiet about their plans.

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