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Big East, Navy reportedly hitting snags over exit fees

Earlier today, we outlined some of the issues the Big East was facing now that conference wants to double in size to 12 members. As if any further proof was needed that the Big East is trying to work through expansion logistics at an absolute terrible time, it appears the conference can’t even see eye to eye with one of its primary targets.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Navy, while interested in joining the Big East, won’t do so until the conference has settled on new exit fees, which are currently set at $5 million.

“Navy has been consistent since Day One, and this is in no way a slight to whoever they are thinking about. The question remains about the anchor six (schools) that need to get together and determine if they’re going to remain focused in being the backbone of what that conference needs to be,” said Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk.

The problem is that the Big East wants Navy to join now, or in the immediate future, no questions asked. As one would imagine, that would be hard for Navy to do seeing as there, in fact, many questions about whether there will even be a Big East in a year or two.

A source familiar with the talks has told CFT that conference officials meet regularly, usually once a week, but the issue of raising exit fees and by how much is holding the conference back from securing its future. At least four members -- Louisville, Rutgers, UConn and West Virginia -- are trying to buy as much time as possible in the event that membership assurance from another conference is given.

On Oct. 2, Big East officials discussed raising exit fees to an amount between $12 million and $15 million, but approval was not granted, according to CBS Sports. CBS was able to obtain an e-mail from Big East commissioner John Marinatto four days before that Oct. 2 meeting that read:

“The most important issue for us to focus on, however, is the future of the Conference and specifically how we can stabilize our situation in order to convey a level of comfort and security to any potential new members and provide them some assurances about their future with us. Toward this end and per our football school discussion (Sept. 21) in New York City, we have added a new agenda item to discuss a proposed bylaw amendment in the form of the attached regarding our current withdrawal clause.”

Navy says they will likely join the Big East in football if the conference ups its exit fees; the Big East says it will work on exit fees after Navy joins.

Either way, the conference loses more security with each passing day, but a six-team expansion is going to take time.


(Tip of the cap: Big East Coast Bias)