USF: Goodbye "Big East," Hello "America 12"?
Since it's become clear USF and the other schools that field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams will lose the "Big East" name, they'll have to come up with a name for their new conference.
If some of the domain names filed for by the conference's law firm are any sign, it looks like some form of "America 12" will be the choice.
Citing league sources, ESPN reports that while the name hasn't been officially approved by the presidents of the member schools and they're considering several other names, a set of 'dot-com' registrations may provide the answer.
Covington & Burling, the conference's law firm, purchased and registered the domain name America12.org on Tuesday, according to WhoIs domain-registration data. The Big East's law firm also registered other variations of America 12 on Tuesday, including America12Conference.com, America12Sports.com, American12.org, American12conference.com, AmericaTwelve.com and TheAmerica12Conference.com.
The conference must have a new name by July 1st, as the so-called "Catholic 7" teams launch their new conference, which keeps the Big East name, on June 30th. A source told ESPN's Andy Katz the formal announcement of the departure of the seven (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova) will come today.
What makes the choice of the "America 12" name really interesting is that the conference won't have 12 teams until 2015. It will have 10 members (former Big East hold-overs USF, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers, along with new members Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Southern Methodist and Temple) when it launches this summer.
Louisville and Rutgers will leave in 2014 and be replaced by East Carolina and Tulane. Navy will join the conference in 2015. Tulsa is reportedly under consideration as the 12th member, but it's not apparent if an invitation will be extended in 2014 or 2015.