University of Miami officials tentatively have scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference today with Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese in anticipation of their board of trustees approving an offer to become the conference's 10th member.
While six other Big East officials returned home following a five-hour meeting with at least 15 Miami officials Monday, Tranghese remained in the Miami area and a number of people there are treating the trustees' approval as a foregone conclusion.
"I believe accepting an invitation to the Big East would be very much in order," Miami trustee David Kraslow said yesterday. "I favor it very strongly for a whole variety of reasons." Kraslow said he has talked with other board members and "most of them" share his enthusiasm for the alliance.
A majority vote of the 55-member board is needed.
Miami President Edward T. Foote II is expected to make a favorable recommendation to the trustees. He was not available to comment yesterday.
Miami, until now an independent in all sports, is expected to compete in the Big East in all sports next season, including men's and women's basketball. It also is expected to be a full-fledged voting member of the conference immediately and begin considering at least five options for football alliances along with the conference's three other Division I-A football schools -- Syracuse, Pitt and Boston College.
Miami will have a conference for its fledgling basketball program, enough flexibility to continue a national football schedule, more visibility in the Northeast corridor and financial stability in case of a decline of success by the football team.
Each conference school was paid a reported basic share of $750,000 from the conference's estimated $15 million in basketball television rights fees. With Miami's share, each of the other nine members will give up about $83,000. But Tranghese considers that a small price to pay for ensuring the survival of the Big East as a major basketball force.
"If Miami joins the conference, we'll get it back" when a successful Miami basketball program gives the league 30 percent of the nation's television households, Tranghese said. "It might not be today or tomorrow, but eventually. And, if Miami joins, they already will have given us something -- allowing us to keep Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Boston College. And that's what all this was about anyway."