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Big East set to pursue new schools

Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu breaks away from Syracuse's Marquis

Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu breaks away from Syracuse's Marquis Spruill during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Heather Ainsworth) (Credit: AP Photo/Heather)

The Big East presidents emerged from a regularly scheduled meeting at Georgetown University on Sunday with a plan for the future.

In a statement released after the meeting, it was revealed that the presidents have given Big East Commissioner John Marinatto the go ahead to "aggressively pursue discussions" with schools that have shown "strong interest" in joining the Big East.

Here is more from the statement: "The Presidents are also actively considering changes to the Conference's governing bylaws to further solidify the membership of the Conference."

What can be taken from these developments? The Big East is obviously going to try to save its conference by pursuing schools to replace Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Those schools announced last month that they were leaving the Big East to join the ACC.

But the Big East has to move fast. With Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving at some point and TCU joining next season, the Big East would be left with just seven football schools. And that's if TCU does indeed join. There's really no sure thing these days in the college landscape. Plus, the Big 12 seems primed to start adding schools to its conference. And the SEC, which will add Texas A&M in July, could still add another school to give it 14.

But it's more than just finding replacements for Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The conference has to add schools that strengthen the football brand. And with television being such a huge part of college athletics and conference expansion, the Big East also must add schools that expand its footprint.

There has been much speculation about which schools the Big East would be interested in adding. One school that has publicly expressed interest is East Carolina, which formally applied for Big East membership last month.

Tags: Big East , Pittsburgh , Syracuse , ACC , John Marinatto , East Carolina

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