The Big East is still considering expansion as it prepares to negotiate a television rights deal that commissioner John Marinatto called the most important in its history.

The Big East is still considering expansion as it prepares to negotiate a television rights deal that commissioner John Marinatto called the most important in its history.

The conference will add Texas Christian as its ninth football member, and 17th member overall, in the fall of 2012. The move gives the Big East another huge television market, along with New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, but could further complicate the relationship between the members that play football and those that don't. The football members would like to add another school, but that choice has to appease the basketball members, too.

Marinatto said he will only consider adding a school that brings "value."

"There is no magic number for us," he said. "We want quality. We're a nontraditional conference. We find ways to make things work."

The expansion issue will have to be settled before the Big East can dive into its TV rights negotiations. The Big East has separate TV deals for football and basketball with ESPN. Each expires in 2013.

The other conferences have been scoring staggering deals over the past year, the latest coming last month when the Pacific-12 signed a 12-year, $3 billion deal with Fox and ESPN.

Marinatto said the Big East was close to signing an extension with ESPN, but decided to test the market instead. That market is expanding, with NBC now stepping into the cable sports network game and Fox looking to add to its inventory.

"Having last at-bat, last dance, provides us an opportunity to evaluate what everybody else has done," Marinatto said. "Our agreements four years ago were negotiated in a very different marketplace and during a difficult time for our conference.

"We now have a golden opportunity to secure our long-term security. We can again achieve equity with the other major conferences. … We can't make a mistake this time."

West Virginia picked to win Big East title

West Virginia has been picked to win the Big East, with Pittsburgh and South Florida also receiving first-place votes in the conference's preseason media poll.

The Mountaineers have won or shared the Big East title five times in eight years and received 21 of the 24 first-place votes.

Pittsburgh received two first-place votes and South Florida one. Syracuse is picked to finish fourth; Cincinnati fifth.

South Carolina assistant loses $14,600 in salary

South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus must give up a month's salary, nearly $14,600, as punishment for his arrest last month.

Athletic director Eric Hyman announced the punishment yesterday, a day after coach Steve Spurrier welcomed Mangus back to the team. Hyman said Mangus is on probation for the rest of his career at South Carolina and won't be eligible for bonus money or a raise for the next year.

Mangus was suspended last week when police officers in Greenville, S.C., caught him urinating in the street. Mangus was charged with nuisance conduct and has a court date on Aug. 26.

Judge won't overturn verdict in player's death

A judge has refused Central Florida's athletic association's request to overturn a $10 million verdict awarded to the parents of a player who died during a preseason practice.

Circuit Judge Robert Evans' denial comes more than a month after a jury found that the association was negligent in Ereck Plancher's 2008 death.

The Orlando, Fla., judge also said that Plancher's parents are eligible to have their legal fees paid for by the association.

The family contended that coaches pushed Plancher too hard despite knowing about a sickle cell trait that they never told him about. A medical examiner determined his death was caused by the trait.