Navy, Army and Air Force appear unlikely to all join Big East Conference

The prospects of all three service academies joining the Big East looks remote, with Army’s athletic director saying the Black Knights are content as an independent. Above, running back Raymond Maples. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)
October 11, 2011

The prospects of all three service academies joining the Big East in football look remote, with Army Athletic Director Boo Corrigan saying Tuesday that the Black Knights are content with their status as an independent.

But the Big East still hopes to land Air Force and Navy, and conference officials continued discussing scenarios that involve both.

“Clearly we’re following everything right now, but we are very comfortable where we are as an independent, and we are comfortable with the Patriot League,” Corrigan said in a telephone interview. “We have great respect for the Big East and John Marinatto. But as we look at things today, we are comfortable where we are.”

Air Force Athletic Director Hans Mueh spoke enthusiastically over the weekend about the prospect of all three academies moving to the Big East as one, but Army is still smarting from its seven seasons as a member of Conference USA, in which the Black Knights compiled a 13-67 record. Navy has voiced concern about the stability of the conference, which has lost three football-playing members in the last month and could lose Louisville and West Virginia if the Big 12 comes calling.

On Tuesday Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas told reporters that Missouri would remain in the conference in 2012 and that the league wouldn’t add any schools until Missouri decided whether to stay or go.

Also Tuesday, representatives of the Big East’s remaining football schools (six, after Syracuse and Pitt leave for the ACC) held a conference call to discuss scenarios for doubling their ranks to 12 and splitting into two divisions.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, the scenarios discussed included Air Force, Navy, Temple, Central Florida, Houston, Southern Methodist but not Army or East Carolina.

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post, she has also covered five Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
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