The Tigers likely would join in 2013 when Houston, Central Florida and SMU from Conference USA already are set to join the Big East.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because talks were ongoing between Memphis and the Big East.
CBSSports.com first reported the talks and said a deal could be announced later this week.
Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson, who is retiring in June, did not respond immediately to a message left on his cell phone by The Associated Press. Associate athletic director Bob Winn said there is no new update on the status of Memphis' athletic affiliation.
"We're always, as we have been for well over a year now, we're always looking for things that are in the best interest of the university and the athletic department," Winn said. "But at this point there has been no change in that status."
The Big East is trying to replace basketball powers Syracuse and Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the Atlantic Coast Conference while West Virginia is headed to the Big 12.
Memphis has been trying to move from Conference USA since being snubbed when the Big East expanded in 2005, losing a long-time rivalry with Louisville. A departure now would be pricey for the Tigers. The exit fee from Conference USA for 2013-14 is $500,000 plus Memphis' share of television rights revenue, which is approximately $6.13 million, according to a league spokeswoman.
The Tigers' value to the Big East is in basketball, where the Tigers have made 23 NCAA tournament appearances with a record of 32-23. The Tigers played in the national title game in 1973 and 2008, when they lost to UCLA and Kansas respectively. They also reached the Final Four in 1985 and lost in three other regional finals.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino has been lobbying the Big East to add Memphis to help strengthen the league in basketball. Louisville and Memphis have spent years together first in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Metro Conference and Conference USA. Pitino again called out for league officials to consider Memphis after Louisville beat Memphis on Dec. 17.
"I'm just hoping the Big East gets smart and does something about that and allows them to come into the league," Pitino said. "I keep getting on the pulpit and saying this: We got hurt big time and we need Memphis. Memphis doesn't need us, we need Memphis. We need Temple. We need to build up basketball again."
With John Calipari as coach, Memphis made four straight NCAA tournament appearances between 2006 and 2009. Josh Pastner, who took over when Calipari left for Kentucky in 2009, took Memphis to the NCAA tournament last season after winning the Conference USA tournament. Memphis will be hosting Conference USA's men's and women's basketball tournaments in March.
Memphis just hired Justin Fuente as its new football coach, replacing Larry Porter who was fired after going 3-21 in two seasons. The Tigers play football at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo in New York contributed to this report.