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Big East Expansion: Villanova Football 'All In', Conference Now Hesitant

Villanova University is ready to commit to the Big East Conference as a football-playing member, but the league may not be ready to add the FCS program because of its soccer stadium reported Philadelphia Inquirer's Mike Jensen on Monday.

The chief sticking point, according to the source, is Villanova's plan to use PPL Park in Chester, the 18,500-seat home of the Philadelphia Union, as its primary venue. PPL Park would be the smallest stadium in the league. Potential plans to increase the seating capacity to roughly 30,000 have not convinced all the Big East schools to support the move. However, some Big East football members are in favor, and it still could be approved, the source said.

On Sunday, Terry Toohey of the Delaware Country Times reported that 'Nova is "all in" when it comes to being committed to joining the conference's football league as its 10th member. It has been rumored for months that the Big East has been trying to convince 'Nova to join the conference, which added the TCU Horned Frogs in late November, and has gone so far as to informally invite the Wildcat program.

"We very recently learned that the Big East Conference needs more time to complete its due diligence regarding Villanova’s potential football membership," wrote Villanova Universities' president Father Peter Donohue in a letter to faculty and staff. "Without a clear and formal invitation from the Big East, we cannot proceed. We are now working with the Big East to provide whatever additional information and details we can. It is our hope that in the near future we will proceed with the Board of Trustees vote as planned."

It truly is unfortunate that this is happening to Villanova, which has been back-and-forth on the idea of joining the Big East from the get go. Now, that the university is finally committed, the conference may be backing out.

(For more on the Big East football expansion visit SB Nation's college football hub. If you'd like a first-program look check out The Nova Blog for everything Villanova football.)