The immediate future of the Big East should be decided in less than a week.
Villanova is scheduled to vote on whether to make the move to FBS football and join the Big East on Tuesday when its trustees meet. The blog VUHoops.com, which has covered this story well, reports that Villanova has the votes to approve the jump up from FCS and that the Wildcats are likely to say yes.
I've spoken to some Big East administrators lately, and the general feeling is that Villanova will make the move. They say the school is worried its basketball program will lose prestige if there is an eventual split by the football schools in the Big East. But the administrators also conceded this is no slam dunk for Villanova, which will have to make a major investment -- school officials have said that at least $30 million will be needed up front to build facilities -- and which still lacks a suitable stadium for big-time football. For a small, private school in a pro town, Villanova is far from guaranteed success.
The Big East still would like the Wildcats to be the 10th team for football, since that eliminates the need to add an 18th member in other sports by taking a school like UCF, Houston or whomever. Ultimately, though, this is Villanova's decision, and Big East officials will be ready to either accept the Wildcats with open arms or move on to other options by Tuesday afternoon.
There will be a lot more internal debate at the Philadelphia school in the next few days. But by Tuesday, we'll know where the future of Big East football is headed.