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College football notebook: Tulane, East Carolina will move to Big East

| Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, 1:03 p.m.
Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson, men's basketball coach Ed Conroy, president Scott Cowen and baseball coach Rick Jones talk before posing for photos after a news conference in New Orleans on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. The Big East moved quickly to replace Rutgers and braced for more possible departures, getting Tulane and East Carolina to agree to join the re-invented conference in 2014. AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Brett Duke

Tulane is joining the Big East as a full member in 2014.

“I would go as far to say as this is a historic day for Tulane University ... the Big East is coming to the Big Easy,” school president Scott Cowen said.

East Carolina also will join the rebuilding Big East for football only in 2014, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because neither the conference nor the school was prepared to make an official announcement. East Carolina, located in Greenville, N.C., has a news conference scheduled for 5 p.m.

Tulane and East Carolina currently play in Conference USA. They will become the fifth and sixth C-USA schools to join the rebuilding Big East in the last two years.

Rutgers announced last week that it would leave the Big East for the Big Ten. Rutgers would like to join the Big Ten by 2014, along with Maryland, but the Scarlet Knights have left their departure date from the Big East ambiguous.

Conference bylaws require members to give the league notification of two years and three months before departing, but the Big East has negotiated early exits for Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia in the past year.

West Virginia joined the Big 12 this year. Syracuse and Pitt will begin play in the Atlantic Coast Conference in September.

With Maryland leaving the ACC, there has been strong speculation that Connecticut or Louisville will be the next to leave the Big East.

If either does, the conference is still on target to have 12 football members in 2014, just not the same ones as it will have in ‘13 when the new Big East debuts.

Boise State and San Diego State, currently in the Mountain West, are set to join for football only starting in 2013, anchoring the Big East's new West Division. Also on schedule to join next season are current C-USA members SMU, Houston, Memphis and Central Florida.

ACC sues Maryland

The Atlantic Coast Conference has filed a lawsuit against Maryland seeking full payment of the approximately $53 million exit fee for the school's move to the Big Ten.

According to the 10-page lawsuit, the ACC said the school must pay $52,266,342, which is three times the league's annual operating budget for the 2012-13 season.

Kentucky hires Stoops

Kentucky hired Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops as its coach.

The university announced that Stoops will replace Joker Phillips, who was fired Nov. 4. Phillips went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky.

Stoops will be introduced at a news conference Sunday.

Muschamp extension

No. 5 Florida didn't wait to give coach Will Muschamp a contract extension. The Gators (11-1) gave him one before the season.

President Bernie Machen and athletic director Jeremy Foley met in August and agreed to extend Muschamp's contract for a year, through 2017. The Gainesville Sun first reported the extension Tuesday.

So. Miss fires coach

Southern Mississippi fired coach Ellis Johnson after one winless season.

Athletic director Jeff Hammond said in a statement that Johnson “will not return in the future as our head football coach.”

The 60-year-old Johnson is due a $2.1 million buyout over the next three seasons.

SEC fines Mississippi

Mississippi was fined $5,000 by the Southeastern Conference after fans rushed the field following the team's 41-24 victory over No. 25 Mississippi State on Saturday.

The win snapped the school's three-game losing streak in the Egg Bowl and also made the Rebels bowl eligible for the first time since 2009.

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