By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco continued his sales pitch speaking to reporters in High Point Solutions Stadium press box prior to the Rutgers-UConn game. Boasting about his conference’s worth, there’s still two big questions facing the beleaguered conference. The possibility of adding a fourteenth team and the new television contract. Aresco gave the same answers he’s been giving on his media tour since taking over as commissioner.
“A thirteen team conference doesn’t work. You know that. And consequently there very likely will be a 14 team,” Aresco said.
We just don’t know who that 14th team will be. And Aresco wouldn’t divulge any potential candidates. However, they won’t come from another BCS Conference. Which leaves it open to be Air Force or BYU, who have been rumored to be likely invitees.
“We weren’t looking around to raid conferences and find a team in that sense,” Aersco said. “But there will be some schools that clearly want to join the Big East.”
While there is no timetable on when that 14th team will be added, there is one of the upcoming television contract. The Big East’s current one ends this fall.
“We’ve had some good preliminary conversations with ESPN,” Aresco said. “As you know these things tend to heat up as you get to the end of these negotiating period.”
Currently, the Big East is right smack in the middle of ESPN’s 60-day window of exclusive negotiations. However, other networks are ready to throw their hat in the ring when allowed.
Said Aresco: “Several networks have expressed enormous interest in the Big East.”
The questions of who and how much they’d pay remains.
Note: Aresco said he is in talks with Navy about joining the conference earlier than their set date. They are currently slated to join in 2015.