The first step in Big East Conference football expansion may have been taken. The Philadelphia Daily News reports this morning that Villanova, whose Division I-AA program has been excellent in recent years, has received an invitation to join the Big East in football.
From the Daily News:
“The Big East very recently communicated its interest in adding Villanova as a football member,” Villanova athletic director Vince Nicastro told the Daily News yesterday. “As a result, we have decided to embark on an in-depth evaluation of this opportunity.
The offer is informal, and there is no timetable. Yet after months of questions over which direction it would go — options that included approaching potentially disenfranchised members of the Big 12 and rumors of adding Central Florida and Memphis — the Big East now is looking to fulfill its desire for a ninth member internally.
While I’ve advocated the expansion of the league, I still don’t understand why Central Florida hasn’t been formally invited. Perhaps South Florida opposes it. Regardless, this is the proactive type of move many around the league have been clamoring for.
Still, it would seem to be a basketball-first move. This shores up the potential for the basketball league should the football-only schools split off, and that alone probably makes it a worthwhile idea. But if the argument with Memphis and Central Florida was that they didn’t “add value,” you have to wonder what value Villanova football adds in a market that is dominated, from a college football standpoint, by Penn State of the Big Ten, and Pitt, which the Big East already has.