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Memphis Hires Tranghese… Tigers Big East Bound?

Memphis wants to join the Big East Conference and has hired former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese to help accomplish that goal.  Mike Tranghese

Yet, Tranghese says he cannot single-handedly get Memphis into the Big East or any other Bowl Championship Series conference.

Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said he understands why some people would try to connect the dots after he was hired as a consultant by Memphis. But he insisted yesterday there is nothing to the speculation that it would lead to Memphis eventually joining the Big East.

“In all my years with the league, the Big East has never had a conversation about adding a 17th (basketball) team during my tenure — and they still haven’t in the three months that I’ve been gone,” he said. “All I’m doing is evaluating their athletic program. People are making something out of nothing.

“My agreement with Memphis is to evaluate their athletic department and to make recommendations to improve their position if there is an opportunity (to join a BCS conference) in the future.”

A 17th basketball team in a conference that already beats itself to death would not make any sense.  Could and would the Nation’s Top basketball league let Memphis come in as a “football only” school?  Unlikely.  Tranghese said if there was a school on the landscape that made sense as the ninth Big East football team that it would probably have been added to the league by now.

Tranghese, who stepped down in June after 19 years as Big East commissioner and 30 with the league, was hired Aug. 1 at $5,000 per month by Memphis to serve as a consultant. The contract is for six months, he said — though it is renewable after that.

A story in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal seemed to suggest that Tranghese’s connections would help the school lobby for entry into the Big East, which has eight football schools and 16 for basketball. Big East football coaches have been pushing for a ninth team for football to help balance scheduling.

“His role is to help and advise us,” Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson told the Commercial-Appeal. “He asked me: What is my charge? I said, ‘There are six BCS conferences. Just get us in one.'”

Memphis is still reeling from being excluded from the revamped Big East in 2005 when the league added fellow Conference-USA members Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida to replace Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech.

The Big East and the Big Ten, which has 11 teams, are the most logical BCS conferences to expand because of their current alignments. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 have 12 teams and a championship football game. The Pac-10 appears content with its membership.

“This is more positioning for the future,” Tranghese said of his job at Memphis, “because you never know what’s going to happen down the road. But that’s all it is.”

MORE BIG EAST NEWS

**Pete Thamel reports that a Yankee Bowl will likely begin in 2010 at Yankee Stadium featuring the 7th-place team from the Big 12 against the third- or fourth-place squad from the Big East.

**Pitt guard Jermaine Dixon broke his foot a second time and is out eight weeks.

as reported by NJ.com, ESPN and other sources

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