Big East Presidents give Commish thumbs up to pursue expansion

WASHINGTON (AP) - The presidents and chancellors of the 14 remaining Big East members and TCU have authorized Commissioner John Marinatto to "aggressively pursue discussions" with certain schools interested in joining the league.

The league released a statement after Sunday's meeting at Georgetown University in Washington. The meeting was the second since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced last month they will leave the conference to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, but Conference officials say Sunday's meeting was scheduled before the defection of Pitt and Syracuse.

The original purpose of the meeting was to discuss the conference's upcoming television rights negotiations, but the defections forced expansion onto the agenda. The Big East says the presidents also are "actively considering changes to the conference's governing bylaws to further solidify the membership of the conference."

After the Presidents' first meeting in New York in September, University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey told WAVE 3, "We're committed to the Big East. It has a great conference and has a great history."

Dr. Ramsey went on to say, "We want to be in a top flight conference, and the Big East was that conference, and continues to be that conference today. So if there were something that changed and there were additional losses of members of the Big East, or that it's Bowl Championship Series qualifications were at risk, then we have to do what is in the best interest of the University of Louisville"

Reports over the last several weeks have named Louisville as a possible candidate for the Big 12, if that conference decides to expand.  Also mentioned, TCU, BYU, and West Virginia.

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