Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Sources: Tulsa to Big East
By Brett McMurphy
Tulsa will join the soon-to-be-renamed Big East Conference in 2014, while East Carolina will be added as a full member, sources told ESPN.
The league's presidents are expected to vote on adding the Golden Hurricane by next week, sources told ESPN's Andy Katz.
A source told ESPN that the addition of Tulsa is "imminent." Adding the Golden Hurricane would give the league 12 schools when Navy joins in 2015.
East Carolina and the Big East initially announced that ECU was joining the league as a football-only member. However, because of the recent defections, the Pirates will join as a full member in 2014, sources said.
League commissioner Mike Aresco has not named expansion candidates, but said on Tuesday's teleconference announcing the league's media rights extension with CBS that the league expected to have "something relatively soon" on a new member.
"We are looking for a 12th team," Aresco said. "Within the next few weeks, I think we'll be able to announce a new member. We'll have a member that brings great value to the conference."
Aresco said Tuesday he expects the league to have 11 schools in 2014.
Tulsa will leave Conference USA on July 1, 2014, to join the soon-to-be-renamed Big East along with East Carolina and Tulane. At that time, Rutgers and Louisville will leave for the Big Ten and ACC, respectively.
The addition of Tulsa, East Carolina and Tulane will give the league 11 members with Navy scheduled to join July 1, 2015.
When Navy joins, the league will be split into two six-team divisions and will hold a conference football championship, which will be televised on ESPN or ABC. The conference championship will be held at the stadium of the highest-rated division champion. The league has not decided how to split the divisions, a source said.
In the past two years, 16 schools have left or announced they were leaving the league. The Catholic 7 basketball schools not only left to form their own league with Butler, Creighton and Xavier, but also will keep the Big East Conference name starting July 1.
Aresco said he hopes to have a new name for the league by late April.
"We are getting closer," he said.
Of the projected 2014 members in the soon-to-be-renamed league, nine of the 11 schools -- Cincinnati, South Florida, UCF, Houston, SMU, Memphis, East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa -- are former members of Conference USA. Only Connecticut and Temple didn't leave C-USA for the Big East.