The Houston Cougars may not be totally tied to the Big East. If television revenues from the conference's upcoming TV deal aren't good enough, Houston can opt out with no penalty, according to a report from CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.
Dodd quotes two sources as saying "I am absolutely positive it's in their contract," and "[There] is no doubt about that."
This revelation adds further uncertainty to the future of an already unstable conference. Earlier on Monday, Maryland's move from the ACC to the Big Ten became official with all expectations that Rutgers will leave the Big East to join them. One leading candidate to replace Maryland in the ACC is said to be Connecticut.
Rutgers' imminent departure along with uncertainty over UConn certainly does nothing to help the Big East television deal. The conference recently emerged from the exclusive negotiating window with current rights-holder ESPN to hit the open market.
ESPN's Brett McMurphy also reported today that Boise State and San Diego State, set to join Houston in the Big East in 2013 (but for football only), have at least talked to the Mountain West Conference about returning.
"There's not a TV executive in America that's going to offer them [Big East] a TV contract until they can confirm and guarantee who is going to be their in their league."
With all the uncertainty, it's hard to tell when the Big East will ever get a TV deal nailed down. When that happens, Houston could apparently opt out.