AD declines to say if UCF meeting with Big East

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2011 4:18 PM
AD declines to say if UCF meeting with Big East

Central Florida athletic director Keith Tribble declined to say Thursday whether university officials are scheduled to meet with the Big East Conference this week to discuss the possibility of the school joining the league.

Tribble also maintained that UCF is committed to doing what's best for Conference USA and said he's aware of other reports of the league's possible alignment with the Mountain West Conference.

"I think from the beginning we've always said we that we want to try to do what was in the best interest of UCF and our program _ and we'll continue to do that," Tribble said. "Have we had conversations with the leaders of college athletics, conference commissioners, ADs (or) presidents? Sure we have. Everybody's doing that."

He said should UCF be approached about switching affiliations that having an automatic tie-in to the BCS in football would be important. School officials also have said moving to any conference would require an all-sports invitation.

Big East schools gave a go-ahead Monday for the conference to expand to as many as 12 teams for football, a move that could involve adding six members.

Tribble said the message from UCF officials has remained the same no matter who they've talked to during the recent conference shakeups.

"We always tell people in this changing environment is take a look at UCF," Tribble said. "Take a look at what we've accomplished. Take a look at what we believe we can be as a program and as a university. And then we have the facts and figures to back that up.

"So hopefully as we continue to have those conversations and this thing continues to swirl in whatever configuration that will be that there comes an appropriate time when we make the right decision _ or really if you can make a decision _ on what's gonna be in the best interest (of UCF)."

Should UCF leave C-USA for another league, it would pay an exit fee of $500,000, in addition to being required to pay its remaining share of television revenue _ about $6.25 million.

In tough economic times, Tribble said protecting the athletic department's financial interests is also a factor.

"If Conference USA in whatever type form can be an (BCS automatic qualifier), and have a chance to compete for the top resources and revenue that's being produced by some of those AQ conferences, I say that's great for us," Tribble said. "...But if that doesn't' exist, then we have to take a look at any opportunity that gives us that chance.

"Again, at this point I don't know what that kind of configuration would be. One thing's for sure, it changes. And it changes every day, every minute, every second. It might be changing now, we don't know."