PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) _ Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says
he will talk to Navy about the possibility of joining the
conference earlier than its scheduled 2015 arrival as a
football-only member.

Aresco spoke to reporters before Connecticut played at Rutgers
on Saturday.

The Big East is on target to become a 12-team football
conference next season, with the addition of Boise State and five
other schools.

The conference has made it clear that it will be in the market
for a 14th member to balance out the league when Navy joins. Aresco
says it should not be assumed the league will only add a school
currently playing football as an independent.

He says there is no timetable for adding another member, and
raised the possibility that Navy could join sooner.

“I’ll talk to Navy about it,” he said.

The Big East is halfway through an exclusive negotiating window
with ESPN on a new television deal. The Big East’s next TV deal is
important to the conference’s long-term viability. Other major
football conferences have scored multibillion media contracts, and
the Big East is hoping to at least be in the ballpark of those.

“As you know these things tend to heat up toward the end of the
negotiating periods,” Aresco said.

If the Big East does not strike a deal with ESPN, it will go to
the open market. The conference at that point hopes to draw
interest from NBC and its new NBC Sports Network, and possibly Fox,
which is also looking into establishing a national all-sports

Aresco gave no updates on the proposed seventh marquee bowl game
that would give the Big East greater access to the new postseason
system that will start in 2014. Aresco said there is support for
the addition of the game among the other conference commissioners
and the game would be part of the playoff semifinal rotation.

The game as proposed would match the top-ranked champion from
the Big East, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and the
Mid-American Conference against a team from the Pac-12 or the Big

Aresco declined to address where the game might be played and
when other details would be finalized.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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