Source: Big East May Pursue Kansas, Big 12 Leftovers
If the Big 12 implodes and loses seven schools to other leagues, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State could find a new home: the Big East.
A Big East source told FanHouse that the league is seriously considering pursuing Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State if those schools are left without a conference.
"Most people [in the Big East] are for it," said the league source.
Various reports the past few days indicate the Big 12 could be losing five more schools to the Pac-10. Colorado already has said it will leave for the Pac-10 and Nebraska will join the Big Ten next season.
The Big 12 may be able to stay together as a 10-team league, though. Orangebloods.com reported Monday that Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are still considering remaining with the Big 12, which could keep the league together.
However, if Texas A&M goes to the SEC and the other schools go to the Pac-10, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Iowa State and Baylor would be without a league. They could either (a) pursue other schools, most likely from Conference USA or the Mountain West, as part of a new Big 12 or (b) join another conference.
If Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State joined the Big East, it would boost the league's football membership to 12 schools – enough for a championship game – and increase the basketball league to 20 teams.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto was not available for comment Monday, but earlier this summer discussed expansion possibilities with FanHouse.
To expand, the Big East already has in place a contingency in league by-laws to add other teams, Marinatto said last month.
"When we reconstituted [in 2005] we had the foresight to provide a provision in our constitution to allow for that [expansion]," Marinatto told FanHouse last month. "So if that school [or schools] became available we would do it tomorrow. It would take five minutes."
In April, Marinatto also told FanHouse the Big East's 16-team basketball league could evolve into a 20-team league. They could split into four pods of five teams or two 10-team divisions.
"You look under every rock," Marinatto told FanHouse in April. "There have been no formal [expansion] discussions with anyone. But, I've thought a lot about it."
The league source said making what's already the nation's largest basketball conference even bigger would not be an obstacle to adding Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State.
"We'd have to look at them if they fell in our lap," the source said. "You can have 50 teams in basketball [in the conference]. It doesn't matter. That's why they have the NCAA tournament.
"I don't see any real downside [to adding the four Big 12 schools]."
If the Big 12 stays together and the Big East doesn't lose any members – Rutgers and others have been speculated as possible Big Ten candidates – the league source said he expects the Big East to stand pat with its current eight football schools, 16 basketball schools membership.
It appears the only way the Big East pursues Central Florida or Memphis from Conference USA is if the Big East loses one or more schools to the Big Ten. Big East sources have previously told FanHouse if the league loses only one member, Central Florida would be the first choice as a replacement.
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY