Sports

Report: Reeling Big East, Big 12 Officials Talk Merger

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Big East commissioner John Marinatto (credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Big East commissioner John Marinatto (credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – With Syracuse and Pitt bolting for the ACC, and more defections from Rutgers and UConn possibly in the works, the Big East has to do something.

It looks like the reeling conference might join together with the Big 12 in their fight for survival.

School and conference officials from the two leagues have been discussing ways to merge what’s left of them if Texas and Oklahoma leave the Big 12, according to The Associated Press.

“Those conversations are alive and ongoing,” the AP’s source said.

Without Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the Big East still has six football members, Cincinnati, Connecticut, South Florida, Rutgers, Louisville and West Virginia. Plus TCU is slated to join in 2012, giving the Big East a presence in Big 12 country.

“College athletics is controlled by football and controlled by money,” former Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday. “We’ve lost all senses of loyalty.”

Listen: Michael Tranghese with WFAN’s Mike Francesa

The ACC might not be done adding Big East teams. The conference reached 14 members with the recent additions, and UConn and Rutgers would allow it to continue to expand its presence in the Northeast.

I think UConn will be in the ACC, if I had to guess,” Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim said today during a speech at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham, according to The Birmingham News. “I think Rutgers could be.”

“The ACC is going to come for two more teams,” said Tranghese.

The Big East also has seven non-football members in St. John’s, Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Villanova and Georgetown, and Notre Dame – which competes in the Big East in everything but football.

Texas and Oklahoma are both trying to decide whether to leave the Big 12 for the Pac-12, taking Oklahoma State and Texas Tech with them.

Both universities’ board of regents voted Monday to give their presidents the right to choose a new conference, though the Texas regents still held the right to give a final approval.

If the Big 12 loses those four members, it would leave Missouri, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State scrambling.

Managing the agendas of the football and non-football schools has been an issue for Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, who is in his third year leading the conference.

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe managed to keep the Big 12 together last year when Texas was considering a move to the then-Pac-10 that would have included Texas Tech and the two Oklahoma schools.

However, that might have only been a temporary reprieve for the league.

What do you think of a possible Big East-Big 12 merger? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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