Navy to Join Big East by 2013

The Big East added five schools last week -- Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and Central Florida -- with the intention of adding two more at some point in the future.

Air Force and Navy were to be those schools. The former announced that they were staying in the Mountain West Conference out of loyalty to the league and to keep their rivalry alive with nearby Colorado State. Navy, meanwhile, is prepared to make the jump,'s Brett McMurphy wrote Wednesday. The only question is when.

The Midshipmen are preparing to join the Big East as a football-only member, but likely won't do so in 2013, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told

Gladchuk said ultimately Navy's Superintendent, Vice Admiral Michael Miller, will make the decision on whether Navy joins the Big East. However, Gladchuk admitted "everyone in Navy's chain of command is comfortable [with the Big East] and the direction it's going."

This is good news for a conference that will lose powerhouses Syracuse and Pitt to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and West Virginia to the Big 12. It means stability for a league that could've been in danger of losing its automatic qualifying status for BCS Bowl games.

But McMurphy notes that the Big East isn't yet out of the woods.

"[The automatic qualifying status is] something certainly we've discussed at great length," Gladchuk said. "Our football coach [Ken Niumatalolo] understands that dynamic. That does matter, but it's all speculation right now."

Gladchuk also told McMurphy that Air Force's decision had no bearing what Navy would do.

"The thinking from Colorado Springs is fully removed from Annapolis -- there are no tentacles attached," Gladchuk said. "We'll make our decision based on what's best for us."

So for now, the Big East appears set to add its sixth school, and like Boise State and SDSU, Navy will be a football-only addition to the conference.

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