An Orlando area TV sports director is reporting that the Big East could extend invitations to Memphis and Central Florida of Conference USA as early as next week. The article cites a willingness for the Big East to secure the Orlando market.
This move doesn’t significantly help Pitt and the Big East right now, but if some of its member schools become the target of other BCS conferences, it could allow the Big East to stave off elimination. That will likely depend in large part to the school(s) leaving. The conference should be able to survive a Rutgers departure should the Big Ten come calling, but three or more teams defecting might mean the end of the Big East.
For the record, Big East commissioner John Marinatto is denying the report.
A downside to this move could be decreased revenue to each school as there would be a bigger pool to split funds. However, a Big East Network, would likely solve that problem by bringing in a significant amount of revenue to the conference.
This move should be thought of in terms of survival, not necessarily in terms of significantly improving the conference.