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Big East saying see ya later Gator Bowl?

Posted Aug 3, 2009 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Aug 3, 2009 at 11:07 AM

NEWPORT, R.I. - This is the final year of the current four-year bowl agreements and if the University of South Florida doesn’t receive an invitation to the Gator Bowl, they may not get a chance in the future anytime soon. Neither will any other Big East school for that matter.

That’s because Big East commissioner John Marinatto told me if the Gator doesn’t commit an agreement exclusively with the Big East for the next four years and ditches the current hybrid Big East/Big 12 model, it’s “doubtful” the Big East will have the Gator in its bowl lineup beginning in 2010.

“It would be doubtful,” Marinatto told The Tampa Tribune. “It’s not what we want and not what we’re going to try for. It’s not on our agenda. We believe [the Big East] has earned that, we don’t want the hybrid [model].

“If we have to go somewhere else, so be it.”

This is the final year of current Gator/Sun Bowl agreement - the Gator selects either a Big East or Big 12 team and the Sun takes a team from the other conference. But each bowl must take two teams from each league during the four-year span. Since the Gator has taken Big 12 teams the past two years, it must select a Big East team, or Notre Dame, this season.

I spoke to Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett and he said he is aware of the Big East’s position, but preferred not to comment at this time.

Please click here for the rest of my story on what the Big East is trying to do for its new bowl lineup, what Marinatto thinks about the chances of adding a ninth-football member and what changes are upcoming for the 2009-10 Big East men’s basketball tournament.

I’ll have much more from Newport in the next couple of days, so keep checking back. I’ll also try to send updates via my Twitter page - as long as I survive the media day golf function at Newport National Golf Club and the much-hyped clambake tonight.

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