Big East Expansion: Conference Finally Hands Out Invitations

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 22: D.J. Harper #7 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against the Air Force Falcons at Bronco Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

In a closed door meeting today in Philadelphia, the Big East unanimously approved handing out formal invitations to the conference to replace the departures of West Virginia, TCU, Syracuse, and Pittsburgh.

While Commissioner John Marinatto declined to announce what schools will be asked to join the league, Ralph Russo of the Associated Press is reporting that the invitations will be handed out to SMU, Houston, UCF, Boise State, Air Force, and Navy. The former three will join the league as full members while the latter will come in as football-only schools.

Justin Hopkins of 247sports.com is reporting that SMU is ready to go, and will announce that they have accepted the invitation to the Big East as soon as Friday. And while we haven't heard anything else from the other five schools, the Idaho State Board of Education will be holding an Athletic Conference Discussion this Thursday. Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman was the first with that news and the Broncos need the BOE to approve a move before they can accept an invitation.

With the Mountaineers leaving, the conference will have to invite a 7th school to get to the 12 football schools the league desires and the conference championship game that comes with it. While Marinatto did say they are working on finding a 12th team, the conference is still in the early stages to finding a replacement. Some reports are saying that BYU, Temple, Villanova, Memphis, and ECU would be possible choices for the final football spot.

We will keep you updated.

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