Report: Big East talking to Fresno State, UNLV

Updated: December 20, 2012

The Big East has talked to Fresno State and UNLV about joining the depleted conference for football only, reported Wednesday.

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco also has spoken informally to BYU, according to the website.

UNLV is a founding member of the Mountain West Conference, which Fresno State joined this year. BYU left the Mountain West in 2011 to go independent in football.

Uncertainty exists about both conferences’ future. Current Mountain West members San Diego State and Boise State are slated to join the Big East next season, but sources told ESPN in November that both schools — and BYU — have talked about the possibility of returning to the Mountain West, sources told ESPN.

The Big East has 12 teams set to play football in 2013 but has faced major departures this year with Rutgers joining the Big Ten and Notre Dame and Louisville leaving for the ACC. This month, the conference’s seven non-Football Bowl Subdivision teams announced they would be splitting from the Big East.

The Big East has only one football member remaining from 2003 — a Temple team that initially was dismissed from the league.

When the Mountain West announced this past summer it was adding San Jose State and Utah State to replace Boise State and San Diego State, commissioner Craig Thompson said then the league purposely didn’t expand past 10 in case the Broncos and Aztecs had a change of heart.

BYU would have to get out of an eight-year contract with ESPN to rejoin the Mountain West or Big East. BYU’s deal with ESPN is worth nearly $4 million a year through 2018, with an option for 2019, sources said.

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