In what could be the first attempt at establishing actual long-term stability for the conference, Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News is reporting late tonight that the Big East will attempt a vote to raise the exit fee. He reports:
The Big East Conference will attempt a major step toward securing a football future during a Friday conference call scheduled to include a vote on dramatically increasing the exit fee for universities wishing to leave for other conferences.
A source close to the league told Sporting News the meeting will ask schools to approve a change in the league bylaws that would require a school to pay three times its annual share of league television revenue in order to depart.
Increasing the exit fee to three times the current television revenue would likely make the exit fee for a football school in the $15-17 million dollar range. The most interesting aspect of the report:
The source said Louisville may decline to participate in the call. Louisville could be a primary target for Big 12 expansion if Missouri decides to depart for the SEC but might not have any other options if the Tigers stick to their current league.
The fact that Louisville is considering sitting out the vote indicates just how much Louisville expect an invitation from the Big XII, or at least wants to make sure it does not create any kind of legal liability by voting for or against an increase while working to leave the conference. Combined with the report that the BCS AQ status will be maintained through 2015, passing the exit fee increase could be a big boost in luring expansion candidates that give the league a chance at long term viability.