The Big East has added the Navy Midshipmen as a football-only member beginning with the 2015 season, the conference officially announced this afternoon.
The Naval Academy has never been a member of a football conference. The Midshipmen have been an Independent since they began playing football in 1879.
With the addition of Navy in 2015, the Big East will have 11 football members. Last month, the Big East announced the addition of five schools beginning with the 2013 season: Boise State, Houston, San Diego State, SMU and UCF.
It is believed that the Big East will add an additional member in the future to get to a total of 12 teams. The conference would likely split into East and West divisions.
The East would probably consist of Cincinnati, Connecticut, Navy, Rutgers, UCF and USF with Boise State, Houston, Louisville, San Diego State and SMU in the West.
From the Big East release:
“When people look back, they will mark this as a truly historic day for the BIG EAST Conference,” said Commissioner John Marinatto. “America’s first national football conference is adding a program with true national appeal. Navy’s decision to make the BIG EAST its first football conference home after over 100 years of independence demonstrates the value of our new expansion model and the long-term viability of our football product. The BIG EAST is truly proud to be associated with one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country and one of the most storied programs in college football.”
“I am honored to welcome the United States Naval Academy and its football program to the BIG EAST Conference,” said Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President and Chair of the BIG EAST Conference Board of Directors. “The Naval Academy’s steadfast commitment to the educational, moral and physical development of our future leaders echoes the ongoing missions of our current and future members to achieve success at the highest levels of intercollegiate athletics. We are indeed proud to include the Academy under the auspices of the BIG EAST Conference.”
“The Naval Academy is pleased to accept the invitation for our football team to join The BIG EAST Conference,” said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael Miller, USN. “After careful consideration, we believe this affiliation to be in the best interests of the Naval Academy, our athletic programs and the Brigade of Midshipmen. While our independent status has served Navy football well to date, BIG EAST conference affiliation will help ensure our future scholar-athletes and athletic programs remain competitive at the highest levels for the foreseeable future.”
“The BIG EAST will provide an expanded stage for the American public to see our nation’s future leaders,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “Expanded media opportunities and coverage by the BIG EAST will elevate the national visibility of Navy football to the highest levels. This new affiliation will brand Navy football as a member of a BCS conference whose competitive aspirations include the opportunity to compete for a championship. The BIG EAST plays a prominent role in the NCAA governance structure and affiliation will ensure that the Naval Academy solidifies its position as an important contributor to leadership decisions on the national level.”