PHILADELPHIA -- Villanova is studying a proposal to join the Big East Conference in football, the school's athletic director told the Philadelphia Daily News.
"The Big East very recently communicated its interest in adding Villanova as a football member," Wildcats AD Vince Nicastro told the Daily News on Thursday. "As a result, we have decided to embark on an in-depth evaluation of this opportunity."
In a letter to alumni, Villanova President Peter Donohue wrote: "This is a complicated issue with numerous, multi-dimensional factors that come into play, and it is important that we investigate scenarios related to making -- or not making -- such a move."
The Big East has eight members for football. Villanova is a member of the conference in other sports, including men's and women's basketball. A ninth member would allow the Big East to play eight conference games -- four home and four on the road. Currently, teams alternate playing more home than road conference games each year.
Villanova currently plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, where it is ranked second in the nation. The Wildcats won the national title a year ago.
The Big East declined to comment. Sources told the Daily News and ESPN.com that the Big East would like an answer from Villanova by the end of the year.
One issue for Villanova is its home field, which seats 12,000 -- 3,000 fewer than the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision minimum.
The school also would need to fund 22 more scholarships for football, as well as a similar number for women's athletics in order to meet Title IX requirements. Upgrades to on-campus training facilities also would be needed.