Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Updated: October 27, 12:04 PM ET
Air Force meets with Big East leaders
ESPN.com news services
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Air Force officials met with members of the Big East Conference for more than two hours and listened to their presentation on why the league would be a good fit for the Falcons.
Academy spokesman David Cannon said Wednesday night that it was just an informational meeting with Big East commissioner John Marinatto and Nick Carparelli, the league's senior associate commissioner.
No invitation was extended as the Falcons consider joining the conference in football only.
Air Force was represented at the meeting by athletic director Hans Mueh, coach Troy Calhoun and Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the academy's superintendent.
Cannon did not divulge what was specifically discussed or give a timeline for when a decision might be reached. The Colorado Springs Gazette first reported the meeting.
"The Big East did give us a lot to think about," Cannon told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The decision will be in large part based on what's best for the cadet athletes, the Air Force Academy as an institution and the bigger Air Force."
Marinatto is expected to meet with Boise State officials Thursday in Boise on a similar mission -- to lay out why the Broncos and Big East would be a good match in football, multiple sources told the Idaho Statesman.
The Falcons have been members of the Mountain West Conference since joining in 1998-99. The Mountain West recently announced plans to combine forces in football with Conference USA and form one mega-league that will probably have between 20 and 24 teams when it finally gets going in 2013.
In this rapidly changing football landscape, the Big East is trying to rebuild after losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse (Atlantic Coast Conference), along with TCU (Big 12).
The Horned Frogs had planned to leave the Mountain West for the Big East in 2012, but changed course and decided to join the Big 12 instead to reunite with former Southwest Conference rivals Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech.
The Big East is looking to possibly add teams such as Houston, SMU and Central Florida in all sports, along with Boise State, Air Force and Navy in football only.
Central Florida's board of trustees will hold a teleconference meeting Friday morning to "discuss the ongoing conference realignments and how they relate to the future of UCF's athletics program," university spokesman Grant J. Heston said Thursday in a news statement.
UCF is one of the schools the Big East plans to formally invite, though no invitation to any conference has been received yet.
The Big East presidents and chancellors are scheduled to meet Tuesday as the conference plans to rebuild in anticipation of losing West Virginia or Louisville to the Big 12.
Information from ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.