PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said Saturday that reports of the Big East planning to extend invitations to a half-dozen schools are erroneous and that the status of his program remains unchanged.
While the Big East continues to be highly interested in inviting Navy to join, there remains no timetable for when an invitation might be extended, according to Gladchuk, who added he spoke with Big East Commissioner John Marinatto on Saturday morning.
“All this media sensation, there is no credibility to it,” Gladchuk said shortly after halftime of Navy’s game at Rutgers.
On Friday both CBSSports.com and the Associated Press reported that Big East leaders have agreed on a plan to invite Boise State, Air Force and Navy as football-only members, and Central Florida to compete in all sports, after they double the exit fee for current members from $5 million to $10 million.
Andy Katz of ESPN.com reported Friday that “the conference has sent conditional invitations to Houston and SMU for all sports and Air Force and Boise State for football only,” while also attempting to work out a separate deal with Navy. Katz also reported that the league’s current teams would agree to raise the exit fee to $10 million if Houston, SMU, Air Force and Boise State agree to join the league.
The reports cited Big East officials or college football industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also Friday, the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA announced they would “consolidate” their 22 football programs by 2013. Boise State and Air Force currently compete in the Mountain West, while Central Florida and Houston are in Conference USA.
On Saturday, Boise State President Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman that, while his school has had conversations with Big East officials, Boise State has not received an invitation from the conference. Kustra also said he had “no idea” if he expected an invitation to be extended.
Gladchuk repeatedly has confirmed ongoing discussions with the Big East but has maintained Navy is in no hurry to commit. The academy will make a decision, Gladchuk said, only when the school feels comfortable about the Big East’s long-term stability and that the member schools are fully on board to stay in the conference.
“There’s no invitations that have been extended,” Gladchuk said. “All that they’ve done is that they’re balancing the insights of the basketball component with the football component, trying to come to some consensus in terms of the league, what makes sense for that conference.”
The Big East’s status as a major conference is in question after Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they were leaving for the ACC and Texas Christian reneged on its agreement to join the league in 2012, leaving the conference with only six schools that play big-time college football.