Navy To Join Big East For Football In '15; School Allowed To Uphold TV Deals
Navy yesterday officially announced that it will join the Big East for football only in '15, becoming the "sixth program to join the league in recent months," according to Don Markus of the Baltimore SUN. It will mark the “first time in the program's history that Navy will not be an independent in football.” Navy AD Chet Gladchuk said that the Big East's “willingness to allow Navy to continue its traditional rivalries with Army, Air Force and Notre Dame paved the way for the move to be made.” Gladchuk said that the Army game “will continue to be played as Navy's last game regardless if the Midshipmen wind up in a league championship game.” Navy's contract with CBS “to televise the game against Army as well as its home games against Notre Dame go through 2018.” The move to announce Navy as the Big East's newest member “was delayed as Gladchuk worked his way through a series of game and television contracts, as well as bowl affiliations.” He said that the Big East “will allow Navy to uphold its CBS Sports Network deal through 2018, as well as its bowl tie-ins through 2016.” The Big East “currently has a television contract with ESPN.” Big East Commissioner John Marinatto said that the league, “which will have 11 teams for football once Syracuse, Pittsburgh and, most likely, West Virginia leave, is ‘not done’ when it comes to expansion.” Air Force “has been mentioned as a possible Big East member as well, but Marinatto said ‘there are a lot of scenarios on the table’” (Baltimore SUN, 1/25). In Houston, Sam Khan Jr. notes Navy's commitment “also triggered an automatic revision in the Big East bylaws, doubling the exit fee for football members of the conference to $10 million” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/25).
MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL? ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson wrote there is “no doubt the Big East and Navy feel they need each other.” In adding Navy, the conference gets to “expand its media footprint and add a program that has been to eight bowl games in the last nine years.” It has a “national reach far larger than anybody left in the conference.” In the Big East, Navy “feels it gets security, the ability to expand its brand and an opportunity to put itself on better financial footing.” However, Adelson wrote the risk is “much greater for Navy” (ESPN.com, 1/24). CBSSPORTS.com’s Brett McMurphy asked, “Will the Big East survive? I'm probably in the minority on this, but I think so.” The addition of Navy gives the Big East “some national flavor and also a fairly decent on-the-field product” (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/24).