Memphis next up for Big East jump
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 7:00 pm
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer
Memphis is the latest school to sign up for a spot in the new Big East.
A person familiar with the decision says Memphis is joining the Big East for all sports in 2013.. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an official announcement would be made today.
The Big East announced it would hold a teleconference with Commissioner John Marinatto, University of Memphis President Shirley C. Raines and Memphis Athletic director R.C. Johnson, though it did not give any details about what would be discussed.
Johnson said a new conference would be held in Memphis after the teleconference to discuss the university’s athletic affiliation.
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) couldn’t wait until the news became official to celebrate.
“I am thrilled that my hometown team and alma mater the University of Memphis is being invited to join the Big East,” Cohen said in a statement. “Joining the Big East will not only be great for the University of Memphis, but it will be an economic catalyst for the City of Memphis.
“Thanks to Louisville Coach Rick Pitino for his strong support. And Congratulations to Dr. Shirley Raines and R.C. Johnson.”
The Tigers will become the fourth Conference USA team to move to the Big East in the last two months, along with Houston, Central Florida and SMU.
CBSSports.com first reported Memphis was on the verge of joining the Big East.
Memphis is the seventh future member the Big East has added in the last two months, but the first that brings more value in basketball than football. The Tigers haven’t had a winning record in football since 2007, but the men’s basketball team has been a Top 25 mainstay.
The Big East is trying to replace basketball powers Syracuse and Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and create a football league with at least 12 teams. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference and West Virginia is headed to the Big 12.
The Big East has been adding new future members for the last two months. In December, Boise State and San Diego State agreed to join for football only in 2013, along with SMU, UCF and Houston.
Last month, the Big East announced Navy will become a football-only member in 2015.
Published in The Messenger 2.8.12