Sports

Report: Big East Targeting Navy, Air Force Football

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(credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

(credit: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – The Big East is still regrouping after Syracuse and Pittsburgh bolted for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Are service academies the answer?

Air Force and Navy are the top choices for Big East expansion, but as football-only members, according to the Associated Press.

Navy is an independent and has played in a bowl eight straight seasons. Air Force plays in the Mountain West Conference and has been to a bowl each of the last four years.

East Carolina of Conference USA announced on Wednesday it has applied for membership in the Big East.

Leaders from the Big East football schools and TCU, which is to enter the league in 2012, met with Commissioner John Marinatto in Manhattan on Tuesday night. All the league’s members, including the eight nonfootball-playing schools, committed to recruit new members.

But the league’s status is still less than stable, especially with another piece of the realignment puzzle missing.

Once Texas A&M makes a clean break from the Big 12, the SEC will be at 13 teams, and likely looking for No. 14. Missouri seemed a candidate, but Big 12 officials are working to save that league.

There has been speculation the SEC could have West Virginia of the Big East as a target to be the 14th school.

“As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant University, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs,” West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck said in a statement Wednesday. “We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics.”

There also has to be concern in the Big East that the ACC could come back for more of its members.

UConn and Rutgers would allow the ACC to expand even farther north and give Pitt, Syracuse and Boston College, which the league plucked from the Big East in 2003, two more local rivals.

Multiple officials at Connecticut said the school has not committed to staying in the Big East Conference and continues to look at other conference options. The officials asked that their names not be used because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

Connecticut President Susan Herbst issued a statement Tuesday thanking fans for their patience and reiterated that the school “will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut.”

Are Navy and Air Force the answer for the Big East? 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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