Kyle Veazey has written a great deal recently in the Memphis Commercial Appeal about Memphis joining the Big East and how it was accomplished. Today, Veazey and Commercial Appeal published a copy of the six page contract that the Big East and Memphis agreed to in welcoming the school to the Big East. You can view the entire contract here. Here are some of the more interesting points in reading over the document:
- Memphis will officially join the Big East on July 1, 2013. Men's and women's basketball, tennis, soccer, track and field, golf, and cross country teams as well as women's volleyball and softball teams and the football team will all play in the Big East conference once Memphis joins.
- Memphis will pay the Big East $2.5 million to join the conference. The total will be paid in five payments of $500,000 each. The last of which is scheduled to be paid in 2018.
- Memphis agrees to pay the Big East $5 million if it decides not to join the Big East between now and the official membership date of July 1, 2013. This is similar to what TCU did in paying the Big East $5 million after deciding to join the Big 12 instead of the Big East.
- Memphis agrees to play a home and home series in basketball with both Boise State and San Diego State. No specific dates were set in the contract, but this is an implicit thank you to those two western schools for taking the plunge with the Big East in football.
- The Big East explicitly states the goal of inviting Memphis and the other members is to have 12 football teams, divisional play, and a conference championship game in football. The contract states, however, that no divisional setup has been determined and will ultimately be decided by the football playing members.
- Notable Memphis booster and CEO of FedEx Fred Smith agree that FedEx will provide "appropriate levels of sponsorship, advertising and similar commitments". Hello, "Big East Championship Game brought to you by FedEx!"
- Memphis also agrees that the Liberty Bowl game, and whatever entity it might become in the future, will make every effort to have a Big East school as a tie in. This is a good move for the Big East as it will need additional bowl tie-ins with the addition of new members, and Memphis will be a somewhat centrally located city for most of the new Big East members.
It sounds like the Big East worked to cover all of its bases with Memphis in terms of maintaining membership as it moves forward. It also sounds like the conference, school, city, and corporate sponsors all worked together to ensure that the Big East is still a financial benefit to all of its members and is trying its best to keep up with the other conferences that are increasingly swimming in money via media rights deals and sponsorships.