Big East spring meetings offer intrigue

For the first time, there will be 17 athletic directors in the same room as the Big East holds its spring meetings next week in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

TCU will brings its contingent to the meetings, which include football and basketball coaches, ADs and other administrators. The Horned Frogs don't have voting privileges and won't until they formally join the league next summer, but they will take part in the discussions.

The more intriguing part will be how that room interacts with each other, and what the relationship will be like with the Villanova officials. The Wildcats, of course, were all set to move up and join the Big East in football until some other member schools expressed reservations about the school's plan. Now representatives of those schools that want to block Villanova's entry will be sitting in the same conference rooms and playing the same golf course. How much would you pay to be a fly on the wall in some of those gatherings?

At least the meetings offer the chance for the parties to talk about any potential tension inside this vast, disparate league. We'll mostly be left to speculate, because it's highly unlikely that much news comes out of these meetings, which begin Monday morning and run through midday on Wednesday.

The conference won't divulge its official agenda, and commissioner John Marinatto has a gag order on expansion talk. But league sources confirmed the obvious: expansion will be a hot topic. However, expect it to be more of a matter of discussion than actual action, because school presidents -- who have the ultimate say on such matters -- won't be in Florida for the meetings.

"It's not even possible for there to be any decisions made on expansion next week," said Nick Carparelli, the Big East's associate commissioner for football.

The league's upcoming TV deal -- the current one expires after the 2012 season -- will also be talked about, although that's another matter that won't see any resolution in Florida. This is a more relaxed atmosphere for the football coaches, who hold their formal meetings in Newport, R.I., before Big East media day in the summer. Until recently, football coaches didn't even come to Florida for these meetings -- until they decided this would be a good time to propose any NCAA rule changes they might want to sponsor.

This should be a good time for new head coaches Todd Graham and Paul Pasqualoni to meet and greet everyone, though both have spent time in the league before. It will also be interesting to see if the Big East talks about the Big Ten's proposal earlier this week to pay student-athletes a stipend for their living expenses. Many Big East schools might not be in a financial state to pull that off.

ESPN.com will be covering the meetings, so make sure to check the blog next week for updates from Ponte Vedra.