After months of speculation over whether Navy would relinquish its status as an independent and join the Big East, the academy made it official on Tuesday by announcing it has agreed to become a football-only member beginning in 2015.
By aligning with the Big East, Navy ends its independent standing that has been a badge of honor for well over a century and becomes part of a conference that automatically qualifies for a BCS bowl. The Big East is one of six conferences with automatic qualifier rights.
The decision comes months after initial reports surfaced indicating Navy was ready to commit to the Big East, which is losing Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and is in litigation to prevent West Virginia from departing for the Big 12 before the start of next season. But Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk disputed those reports as erroneous at the time and indicated the Midshipmen were in no rush to join, citing conference instability.