SDSU AD says Aztecs committed to Big East future

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 20, 2012
San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk said Tuesday the Aztecs are committed to a future in the Big East in 2013 despite Rutgers' jump to the Big Ten. ''I can say the Big East took a hit,'' Sterk said during a weekly press conference streamed on the Internet. ''It may take some others, but I can tell you the league will continue to be strong. ... I'm excited about the future and wanted to make sure that was clear and on the direction San Diego State University was taking.'' Sterk also essentially ruled out the possibility of staying in the Mountain West Conference, noting he hasn't talked to MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson since May. Brigham Young is another school frequently mentioned in regards to Big East expansion because the Cougars are independent in football. Sterk said he would be ''in favor'' of BYU joining the Aztecs in the Big East, but indicated it is not his role to approach the Cougars. He said BYU has a good program and is ''getting significant interest.'' BYU officials have declined to comment on all expansion rumors. BYU sports information director Duff Tittle called any reports regarding BYU ''simply speculative'' in response to a text seeking comment. ''As you know, BYU chooses not to respond to conjecture,'' Tittle said. BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was asked about an ESPN report indicating Boise State, San Diego State and BYU have had recent conversations with Mountain West membership about the possibility of returning to the league. BYU became an independent in football in 2011 and joined the West Coast Conference in other sports that year. ''I don't know anything about it.,'' Mendenhall said after practice Monday night. ''I don't know what to tell you. There's nothing I'd be shocked by with realignment, etc. I'm just trying to get our team ready to play.'' BYU is Poinsettia Bowl-bound for the second straight season. Mendenhall has acknowledged previously the only way to get into a BCS bowl likely be to go undefeated once, perhaps twice. The new playoff system doesn't help if BYU remains independent. ''It's about the same access we had before, the way I see it,'' Mendenhall said. ''We still have to be undefeated, I think, to be considered.'' Sterk said San Diego State made the decision last December that the Big East would be a step up in terms of exposure and revenue. He said that remains the case. ''We are part of and moving forward with a national football conference,'' he said. ''We made a strategic decision to do that last December and nothing has changed. ... It's more important for our program to grow and move forward and not go backward.'' Boise State officials issued a statement late Monday indicating they have had no recent discussions with the Mountain West and are intent on strengthening the Big East.
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