The Big East Conference made it official today -- Boise State is the headliner in five schools that will be joining the re-modeled conference. Boise State and San Diego State will join the conference for football only, while Houston, SMU and Central Florida would join for all sports. Those schools will begin participating in the conference in 2013.
The additions of these programs became necessary due to the decisions by Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to leave the Big East.
The addition of Boise, a football power, should help the Big East in its effort to maintain automatic qualifying status for a BCS bowl berth. Boise has not previously had that as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
In a statement during a teleconference, Big East commissioner John Marinatto said:
Over the last 32 years, the Big East Conference has constantly evolved along with the landscape of college athletics. The inclusion of these five great Universities, which bring a unique blend of premier academics, top markets, strong athletics brands and outstanding competitive quality, marks the beginning of a new chapter in that evolution. We are proud to welcome these schools to the BIG EAST family.
Much like the conference as a whole, the Big East name -- though derived 32 years ago based on the geography of our founding members -- has evolved into a highly respected brand that transcends borders, boundaries or regions. It's national. Our membership makeup is now reflective of that.
Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the Conference Board of Directors said:
Over its history, the Big East has changed and adapted as needed to maintain its place and leadership in the world of college athletics. And it has always done so with great respect and reverence for its heritage and legacy. And so it is today. Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, SMU and UCF are all fine schools that will enhance every aspect of the Big East.
Commissioner Marinatto also highlighted the conference's potential to reach into 28 million households and the ability to schedule four consecutive conference football games on Saturdays due the Big East spreading to four time zones.