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Big East officials meet with Air Force in Springs

By: FRANK SCHWAB
October 26, 2011
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photo - Big East boss John Marinatto, shown last week, was recruiting Air Force on Wednesday in Colorado Springs. Photo by AP PHOTO
Big East boss John Marinatto, shown last week, was recruiting Air Force on Wednesday in Colorado Springs. Photo by AP PHOTO 

Big East commissioner John Marinatto and senior associate commissioner of football and marketing Nick Carparelli Jr. were in Colorado Springs on Wednesday to meet with Air Force officials and pitch the conference to the academy.

Air Force has been considering joining the Big East for football only. Marinatto and Carparelli made a presentation that lasted about two hours. Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the academy’s superintendent, athletic director Hans Mueh and football coach Troy Calhoun were among the Air Force group that attended the meeting.

“They came and gave a presentation on why they think the Big East is a good fit for the Air Force Academy,” said academy spokesman David Cannon, who also attended the meeting.

Cannon would not divulge specific topics that were discussed in the meeting. No official invitation was extended from the Big East. Gould was noncommittal to the Big East officials about the academy’s intentions at the end of the meeting, Cannon said.

“Gen. Gould said, ‘We’ll give this a real thorough thought process,’” Cannon said. “’You’ve given us a lot of information to think about and consider as we make a decision on what’s best for our cadet-athletes, the Air Force Academy and the Air Force.’”

At the meeting there was no timetable discussed for the Big East officially extending an invitation, and no timetable was discussed for Air Force making a decision.

Air Force’s top two options for its football program are to stay in the Mountain West or go to the Big East. The Mountain West has indicated it would allow Air Force to remain in the conference for just football, or in all sports. If Air Force joins the Big East, it would have to move its non-football sports to another conference.

The Big East is looking to add teams, and among its targets are Air Force, Boise State and Navy. The Big East currently has six football-playing members, but could lose either Louisville or West Virginia to the Big 12, according to multiple reports.

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