Memphis reportedly accepts offer to join Big East

Memphis reportedly accepts offer to join Big East
February 7, 2012, 7:58 pm
Share This Post

Updated 6:45 p.m.When the Big East beganaddingreplacement programs following theannounced though not yetrealized departures ofSyracuse, Pittsburgh and subsequently West Virginia, Memphis failed to make the initial cut despite its obvious hardwood ties. Now, the two sides arereportedly moving closer to agreement for the potent basketball powerto join forces with the historically dominant basketball conference.Memphis accepted an offer to join the Big East with an announcement potentially coming this week, CBSSports.com reported Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, theparties were reportedly"in the final stages of negotiations to make the Tigers an all-sports member of the Big East beginning in 2013."Three other Conference USA programs - Central Florida, Houston and SMU - have already agreed to become full Big East membersfor the 2013-14 season. Boise State (2013) and Navy (2015) will eventually join as football-only schools.While these already confirmedadditions help the Big East's football BCS status remain intact - for now anyway - none offers anything significant as a basketball entity to a conference steeped in basketball tradition.Last season, the Big Eastput an unprecedented 11 teams in the NCAA tournament, which was eventually won by member-school Connecticut.Losing three powerful basketball programs figures to dim the Big Easts wattage regardless. However, adding Memphis - the 2008 NCAA runner-up - to a core of Georgetown, Connecticut, Louisville, Villanova, Marquette, St. John's and Notre Dame should help maintain theBig East's place among the nation's elite conferences.Most seasons, the Tigers compete at the highest hoops level. Preseason ranked No. 11 this season, they sit one game out of first place in C-USA. Georgetown fans are certainly familiar with Memphis, having downed the always fast-breaking foes twice this season and three times over the last two seasons. Big 12-bound West Virginia isattempting to lawyerits way out of the conference and forgo the Big East's 27-month requirement for departure. Pittsburgh and Syracuse appear to have a season left in the Big East before heading south to the ACC, but matters could change should the Mountaineers successfully break away.