Following the official announcement that Rutgers University will indeed leave the Big East for the Big Ten, conference commissioner Mike Aresco released this statement on Tuesday:
“Although we are disappointed that Rutgers has decided to leave the Big East Conference, we wish them well. They have been a valued member of the Conference for many years.
“We realize that conference realignment is currently a fact of life in college sports. In the context of this realignment, changes in our membership have been taking place, including important additions. In fact, the Big East has expanded its scope with new members in California, Texas, Florida, Idaho, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. As a result, the Big East has created a unique national football conference that is a factor in the BCS Championship, remains the nation’s strongest basketball conference top to bottom, and is a major force across the full spectrum of men’s and women’s college sports. We remain committed to, and confident in, the continued growth and vitality of the Big East Conference.”
In light of this news, on Monday ESPN reported that Boise State, San Diego State and BYU had recently contacted the Mountain West about rejoining the conference.
Boise State president Bob Kustra dismissed those rumors late Monday night:
“Because of a report that Boise State has been talking with the Mountain West, I want to make it clear that Boise State has had no discussions with the Mountain West Conference in the past couple of weeks. We are in constant communication with presidents and athletic directors of the Big East and we intend to strengthen our the conference by adding members who can contribute to a strong conference.”
At a press conference on Tuesday, San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk also addressed the rumors and re-confirmed the Aztecs commitment to the Big East.
Sterk said he has not spoken with MW commissioner Craig Thompson since May, adding “there isn’t anything compelling that would have us make a move like that.”
Sterk also mentioned that he had spoken with both Boise State and BYU since Monday and each denied any conversations as well.
“The Big East took a hit, may take some others. But I can tell you that the league will continue to be strong. Right now it sits as one of the top five in the country performance wise.
“(I think it) will continue to challenge for the BCS championship next year and will continue to do it after that. I’m excited about the future and wanted to make sure that’s clear and the direction San Diego State is heading.
“I think Boise State and San Diego State made a statement yesterday that we’re moving forward and there is no question that we’re not going into the Big East.”
The Broncos and Aztecs are currently set to join the Big East in football only on July 1, 2013.
Some additional notes from Sterk:
- He would be in favor of BYU joining the Big East, adding the East-West division alignment gives the conference options.
- Sterk said the athletic directors of each future Big East institution talked on Monday and Tuesday. He also commented Big East commissioner Mike Aresco’s communication skills, stating: “It made me more proud to work with a guy like that.”
- Aresco has been contacted by a number of potential suitors about joining the Big East.
— Jay Tust (Follow on Twitter: @KTVBSportsGuy)