The Big East is now in Phase II of its plans for the immediate future. With the television deal with ESPN for basketball and football almost official (it still has to be approved by the Big East Presidents) Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is now focusing on the break up with the Catholic 7 group of schools (Seton Hall, Georgetown, Marquette, Villanova, Providence, St. John’s, and DePaul) who are leaving the conference.
No official date has been announced, but July of 2014 still seems the most reasonable departure date for not only the Catholic 7, but for Notre Dame, Louisville and Rutgers, who also have announced their departure for the ACC and the Big Ten.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco feels the two sides are close to having an initial arrangement–which will mean the departure date. Some factions among the Catholic 7 are still lobbying for a departure by this July, but that still seems unlikely, given the amount of money which the Catholic 7 would either give up or have to pay out for an early exit, as well as the sheer logistics of forming a conference and getting it up to speed in a few months.
The two sides are holding meetings on a regular basis and the word used among Big East officials is “close, very close” to having some sort of announcement.
Aresco wants to move forward with his new look league, presumably with the Big East name. It will be a trimmed down, more cohesive group. consisting of 10 teams in football for next season and either 11 or 12 teams in football and basketball by the start of the 2014 season.
The Catholic 7 plan will be to announce a departure date and then immediately add at least three teams to the conference–with Xavier, Butler and either Richmond, Dayton, Saint Louis or Creighton as the 10th team, with the eventual possibility that five of the six eventually being part of the group.
The other issue now seriously being discussed is the matter of money. With NCAA basketball units, departure fees and other money in a general reserve fund, the Big East will have more than $60 million available for distribution to its members.
How and when this is done is now being discussed on a regular basis, with still no clear-cut plan being approved.
© 2013, Mark. All rights reserved.