“We are delighted to formally welcome the University of Central Florida, the University of Houston and Southern Methodist University as our new full members and Boise State University and San Diego State University as football playing members.”
Houston will play one more season in Conference USA before moving to the Big East in 2013. UH President Renu Khator had this to say.
“This affiliation give us an opportunity to play in a nationally competitive environment and to show our talents on a national stage. This is a game changer for us and I know everybody here is very excited. Big East is a great conference, nationally competitive and academically strong.”
For more than a year UH had been lobbying to join the Big 12. Both the Big 12 and Big East present better opportunities for media exposure and television dollars. State Representative Garnett Coleman says that exposure can also lead to more private donations.
“The notoriety of a university is what gets it recognized as well for its academic programs. When you have money coming in from alumni, they feel better about investing in the school.”
Coleman was one of those who lobbied for the move to the Big 12, but is just as happy with the news that UH is going to the Big East. Several schools are leaving the Big East, which was the catalyst for the expansion. With schools coming from California, Texas and Idaho Commissioner Marinatto say the conference will have teams in every time zone and will be able to play four games in one day without an overlap.