(AP) – Tulane is joining the Big East as a full member in 2014 and East Carolina will also be joining the rebuilding conference for football only, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because neither the conference nor the schools were prepared to make an official announcement.
New Orleans-based Tulane called a news conference for 2 p.m. EST on campus but didn’t reveal the reason.
Tulane and East Carolina currently play in Conference USA. They will become the fifth and sixth C-USA schools to join the rebuilding Big East in the last two years.
Rutgers announced last week that it would leave the Big East for the Big Ten. Rutgers would like to join the Big Ten by 2014, along with Maryland, but the Scarlet Knights have left their departure date from the Big East ambiguous.
Conference bylaws require members to give the league notification of two years and three months before departing, but the Big East has negotiated early exits for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia in the past year.
West Virginia joined the Big 12 this year. Syracuse and Pitt will begin play in the Atlantic Coast Conference in September.
With Maryland leaving the ACC, there has been strong speculation that Connecticut will be the next to leave the Big East.
If it does, the conference is still on target to have 12 football members in 2014, just not the same ones as it will have in 2013, when the new Big East debuts.
Boise State and San Diego State, currently in the Mountain West, are set to join for football only starting in 2013, anchoring the Big East’s new West Division. Also on schedule to join next season are current C-USA members SMU, Houston, Memphis and Central Florida.
Navy has committed to join the Big East in 2015, and the conference had planned to find a 14th member to balance out its divisions even before Rutgers left. BYU and Air Force were top targets for that spot.
Officials from San Diego State and Boise State have said they are still committed to joining the Big East but have expressed a desire for the conference to add more western schools.