What’s the next move for the Big East Catholic schools who are weighing the options of breaking completely away from the conference?
Several sources say it is a complicated process with numerous details that must be worked out.
But if they do decide to leave as a group, they will not have to pay an exit fee. A rule that was put in place almost a decade ago when the Big East lost Virginia Tech, Miami and then Boston College to the ACC, stipulates that should the football or basketball segments of the league want to break away as a group no exit fees will be imposed. Schools leaving the Big East on an individual basis have had to pay between $5 and $17 million.
With the seven Catholic schools talking about leaving the Big East as a group, the no exit fee clause would apply.
In addition, the Catholic schools would most likely be able to retain the Big East name as a conference if they leave as a group and the Big East football officially dissolves. If that happens they would also be likely to retain the automatic NCAA tournament bid given to the Big East since they would be a group of schools who have established a long history of competition against each other. But with all the other elements and commitments from its new members, dissolving the league would be a complicated and difficult process.
And this “new” group would most likely still control the financially valuable units the NCAA gives to conference schools who perform well in the NCAA tournament.
Everyone involved concedes it is a complicated process, involving not only configuration, but revenue distribution.
After meeting as a group with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Sunday in New York, the Catholic schools fee the next move will be up to Aresco as he tries to finalize a new television contract.
In their meeting on Sunday, the Catholic schools talked of having a 6 month time limit on resolving all significant issues. The time-limit is based on the addition of a six more schools in football on July 1, which would then give the football schools a majority on voting issues.
As part of that movement, the Big East announced its home and home sites for next year’s 12-team 20 division football schedule on Tuesday. The dates will be announced at a later date.
If the Catholic schools do break away on their own, they will need at least 1 and possible a total of 3 to 5 new members. Speculation on those schools is already rampant. The key element in that move, however, is to have the inventory of a new league in place so television fees can be determined.
That is also a complicated process, which could also slow the movement of schools want to break away from the Big East. Aresco is counting on that indecision to allow him time to put together a deal in football and basketball which will keep both sides content.
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