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Conference changes could affect USF

Maryland announced Monday that it would be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten and reports surfaced that Rutgers is expected to follow, leaving from the Big East, Tuesday.

The announcement follows two years of conference re-alignment that have changed the competitive landscape of the Big East, leaving the future of USF the target of speculation.

According to CBS Sports Jeremy Fowler, USF is one of four schools in talks with the ACC for replacing Maryland. TBO.com reported that USF athletic director Doug Woolard declined to comment on the report.

Sports Information Director Jeremy Sharpe said Woolard and USF President Judy Genshaft are monitoring the different movements and have a basic philosophy of engaging in dialogue.

Sharpe said Woolard and Genshaft also have a primary focus of improving USFs athletics program as opposed to focusing on conferences. With improvements to facilities, Tampas large media market and game play improving last year, Sharpe said USF should be attractive to any conference.

In the last year Temple, Navy, Boise State, San Diego State, Southern Methodist, Central Florida, Houston and Memphis have been added to the Big East. The conference requires a 27-month period of notice and a $10 million exit fee, but negotiations were made for Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to leave early within the last year.

Big East presidents and athletic directors will meet in New York City on Dec. 3 to determine the 2013-14 schedule.

Reporting by Divya Kumar