There is a clear divide developing in college football. The Naval Academy sensing that made sure today they would be included in the haves, not the have nots.
BIG EAST Commissioner John Marinotto announced that Navy will join as a football member only in 2015. Of importance to Navy was its relationships with Notre Dame, Army, and Air Force, which will be honored.
Vice Admiral Michael Miller, the Superintendent of the Naval Academy was pleased with the move in the long term for Navy’s inclusion to college football’s highest level. “The Naval Academy is pleased to accept the invitation for our football team to join the BIG EAST conference,” said Miller. “After careful consideration, we believe this affiliation to be in the best interests of the Naval Academy, our athletic programs and the Brigade of Midshipmen. While our independent status has served Navy Football well to date, BIG EAST conference affiliation will help ensure our future scholar-athletes and athletic programs remain competitive at the highest levels for the foreseeable future.”
Navy has had a regular scheduling relationship with some BIG EAST schools. Rutgers and Pitt recently have been constant foes, the Mids also had some success with Connecticut of the BIG EAST. Since 2003, Navy has had wins over all three schools. Pitt will be leaving to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Navy and the BIG EAST have engaged in a three-year phase-in period that will result in full membership by 2015. Navy will be included from today on in all future negotiations the Big East has with future TV and marketing deals. Navy’s current TV partnership with CBS Sports will also be honored over the next three years as well as previously negotiated tie-ins with bowl games.
Coach Ken Niumatalolo recognizes the challenge at hand, but relishes the opportunity for his program ahead.
“We have come to the conclusion that this is a great day for our school, for our program, and I know we are very excited about this opportunity,” Niumatalolo said. “In recruiting with the talk of us possibly going, I know there is a lot of excitement about it.”
Navy has stamped itself as a winning program this decade. The Mids are 75-40 over the past nine seasons and have had the most wins by a non-BCS team against BCS foes in that time, 18.