MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- After being the subject of speculation and projection for how it might factor into conference expansion, the Big East gave the first indication of its future Tuesday.
At the annual conference Board of Directors meeting in Philadelphia, the membership's presidents agreed the 16 Big East schools would be best served by having 10 football-playing institutions.
Currently the Big East has eight football members, and the smallest roster for a Bowl Championship Series conference. The presidents voted unanimously to "evaluate the terms and conditions for potential expansion candidates," according to a conference press release.
Included in that process is considering travel and scheduling logistics and associated financial variables for not only the invited schools, but also the ones currently in the Big East, as well as an impact on television packages.
No timetable was provided, but the Big East seems to have every incentive to move quickly.
Commissioner John Marinatto said only that "our Board of Directors affirmed a set of key strategic initiatives, including expansion, designed to enhance membership stability and maximize our value."
It was added that Marinatto and the rest of the conference will "refrain from commenting further on the expansion process."
WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck, who attended his first Board of Directors meeting in office with WVU President Jim Clements, declined comment. Clements said only that he was encouraged by the meeting and "excited" about where the process is headed.
In an interview with the Daily Mail last month, Luck, on the job since July 1, said he preferred growth from eight and a plan to get to 10 as soon as feasible.
"I think the Big East, certainly, needs to move beyond eight (football members)," Luck said. "Eight is just not enough, and in my mind, our short-term goal should be, 'What do we need to do to get to 10?' I think that's realistic, but we can't just add for the sake of adding schools.
"They have to be the right fit. They need to be quality schools, ones that bring value, have a good fan base, good (TV) viewership, some tradition. We certainly don't want to further dilute the already relatively small (compared to other BCS conferences) TV contract for Big East football."
By agreeing to examine candidates for expansion to 10 football schools, the Big East will include Villanova, which currently has a standing offer for football membership, as well as a group of other possibilities.