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Big East may ask six schools, including Boise State, to join

Boise State, Navy and Air Force will be invited as football-only members; Southern Methodist, Houston and Central Florida will be invited for all sports, says a person familiar with the plans.

November 01, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Boise State defensive lineman Jarrell Root, center, tries to get his teammates motivated before their game against Air Force on Oct. 22.
Boise State defensive lineman Jarrell Root, center, tries to get his teammates… (Otto Kitsinger III / Getty…)

The Big East is ready to start adding members after spending the last month and a half losing them.

A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press the Big East will invite Boise State, Navy and Air Force for football only and SMU, Houston and Central Florida for all sports in upcoming days. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference was not ready to announce its plan.

Commissioner John Marinatto declined to elaborate on the Big East's next moves after meeting with the league's presidents at a Philadelphia hotel Tuesday. He said he expected the targeted schools to accept, but that details must be worked out with each.

"As we've learned over the last two months, don't believe anything anybody tells you. Nothing's done until it is over. So I'm obviously being very cautious and that's why I'm reluctant to say names of schools," he said.

Marinatto did acknowledge the league intends to expand west.

Boise State and Air Force, both in the Mountain West Conference, and SMU and Houston, members of Conference USA, would be in the Big East's western division, along with Louisville and Cincinnati. Navy, an independent, and UCF, also from CUSA, would be part of the league's eastern division with Connecticut, South Florida, Rutgers and another school. The league would then likely play a conference championship game.

The Big East has been working on a plan to add those six schools and reconfigure as a 12-team football conference since not long after Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced Sept. 18 they would be leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

A couple weeks after the Big East found out about Pitt and Syracuse, TCU announced it was backing out of a commitment to join the league next year and instead accepted an invite to the Big 12.

Then last week West Virginia accepted an invitation to the Big 12, stripping the Big East of its most successful football member in recent years. So even with the six potential new members, the Big East still needs another school to get to 12 for the long term.

Congressman compares NCAA to Mafia

A Democratic congressman compared the NCAA to the Mafia over how it controls the lives of student athletes.

"I think they're just one of the most vicious, most ruthless organizations ever created by mankind," Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush said of the NCAA at a congressional forum on college sports Tuesday. "I think you would compare the NCAA to Al Capone and to the Mafia."

Rush made the accusations at the forum in Washington called to look at the impact of "back-room deals, payoffs and scandals" in college sports.

The NCAA declined to respond to Rush's comments.

The congressman spoke after hearing from a couple of mothers of former student-athletes who complained of ill treatment by schools after their sons suffered injuries.

Novak Djokovic wins in return from injury

Novak Djokovic was tested on his competitive comeback Tuesday, beating Xavier Malisse, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, in the first round of the Swiss Indoors at Basel after being sidelined for six weeks with a back injury. The top-ranked Serb endured some difficult moments before improving his record this season to 65-3.

Earlier, fifth-seeded Mardy Fish retired against fellow American James Blake after only one game because of a hamstring injury.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wins, will play Sam Querrey

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got a scare from Spanish teenager Javier Marti before rallying to win their first-round match at the Valencia Open in Spain, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Tsonga will play Sam Querrey after the American won his first match since June in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.

Rick Hendrick and wife out of hospital after hard plane landing

NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick returned home to Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, a day after he suffered a broken rib and shoulder when his plane ran off the runway in Key West, Fla.

Hendrick Motorsports said the brakes failed when the Gulfstream G150 landed at Key West International Airport on Monday night. The plane is co-owned by Jimmie Johnson and is used to shuttle the five-time defending NASCAR champion and his family to and from races.

Hendrick, his wife, Linda, and the two pilots were all released from Lower Keys Medical Center on Tuesday morning. Linda Hendrick sustained minor cuts and bruises. The two pilots were not injured.

Chris Gwynn to direct Mariners' farm system

The Seattle Mariners have hired Chris Gwynn as their new director of player development after current minor league director Pedro Grifol was named manager at Single-A High Desert.

Gwynn, younger brother of Tony Gwynn, previously worked as the director of player personnel for the San Diego Padres. Gwynn will oversee all aspects of the Mariners' minor league system.

Etc.: Brian Cashman signs three-year deal to stay as Yankees GM

Brian Cashman signed a three-year contract with the New York Yankees, a day after his previous deal as general manager expired. Cashman has been GM since February 1998, when he succeeded Bob Watson. The only general manager to serve longer with the Yankees is Ed Barrow from 1920 to 1945.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andy Sutton was suspended five games by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Sutton delivered an elbow to the head of Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog early in the third period of Edmonton's 3-1 victory Friday.

Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of drunk driving and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. Wallace appeared in Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Mich. He faces a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail when he returns to court on Dec. 13, but his attorney expects probation.

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